Lower East Side Tenement Museum

The Lower East Side Tenement Museum's mission is to promote tolerance and historical perspective through the presentation and interpretation of the variety of immigrant and migrant experiences on Manhattan's Lower East Side, a gateway to America.

Today, although most citizens trace the beginnings of their American journeys to the urban rather than the rural environment and most descend from immigrants, The Tenement’s landmark tenement building at 97 Orchard Street is the first homestead of urban working class and poor immigrant people preserved and interpreted in the United States. Located on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, an immigrant portal for almost two centuries, 97 Orchard Street was home to an estimated 7,000 people from more than 20 nations between 1863 and 1935.

The Tenement is a designated National Historic Site, affiliated with the National Park Service and a featured property of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In fiscal year 2006, The Tenement hosted nearly 125,000 visitors, representing all 50 states and more than 30 countries; its website at www.tenement.org received more than 300,000 online visitors.

Visitors to The Tenement tour carefully restored apartments and learn about the lives of actual past residents: the German Jewish Gumpertz (1870s) who lived through the Great Panic of 1874; the Levines from Poland (1897), who ran a garment business in their apartment; the Rogarshevsky family, Eastern European Jews (1918) mourning the loss of their patriarch from tuberculosis; the Sephardic Jewish Confino family (1916), the focus of an interactive family-oriented living history program; and the Baldizzi family, Italian Catholics from Sicily (1930s), who were among The Tenement’s last residents during the Great Depression.

With an anticipated opening in early 2007, The Tenement is researching the Moores, an Irish Catholic family in residence during the Civil War. Lower East Side Stories, The Tenement’s neighborhood walking tour, showcases the area’s complex history.