Ellis Island, New York.

I have wanted to visit Ellis Island since learning about immigration during my undergraduate degree. I finally got there in 2019, and I certainly was not disappointed. 

Ellis Island first opened it’s doors in 1892, and closed in 1954. At it’s peak, approximately 5,000-10,000 immigrants passed through Ellis Island every day. It is estimated that about 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island during the time of its operation. 

Several laws and legislation were put in place to restrict immigration starting in 1882, with the Chinese Exclusion Act.  This was followed in 1894, by the Immigration Restriction League and the Dillingham Commission in 1911. In 1917, literacy tests were introduced meaning that immigrants had to pass reading and writing tests in order to be granted entry to the US.  This meant that many poorer immigrants, especially those from eastern Europe, with no education failed the tests and were denied entry. The Immigrant Quota Act of 1921, restricted immigrant numbers to 357,000 per year, and the National Origins Act of 1924, reduced immigration even further to 150,000 per year.  A culmination of these resulted in Ellis Island becoming redundant and finally closing it’s doors in 1954. 

On the 11th of May 1965, Ellis Island became part of the National Park Service and in 1976, Ellis Island opened to the public.  In 1984, it was renovated with $160 million from donations made to The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the National Park Service.  The project was completed in 1990, and Ellis Island reopened to the public. 

Below are a few pictures that I took whilst visiting Ellis Island along with a video for a more in-depth look inside the buildings.  I tried to include as much of the museum as I could on the video for those people who can not get there in person. 

The Great Hall.

Located on the 1st Floor is the Baggage Room, Journeys: The Peopling of America 1550-1890, Journeys: New Eras of Immigration 1945- Present, and the American Family Immigration History Center. On the 2nd Floor there is the Registry Room (Great Hall), the Hearing Room, Theater 2, and two exhibit galleries: Through America’s Gate and Peak Immigration Years: 1880-1924. Finally, located on the 3rd floor there is the Bob Hope Memorial Library, Dormitory Room, and the exhibits: Ellis Island Chronicles, Treasures From Home, Silent Voices, and Restoring a Landmark.

The museum has a lot to look around and take in so leave yourself plenty of time. Definitely buy tickets in advance.  Tickets start at $18.50 and also include Liberty Island https://www.statuecruises.com/statue-liberty-and-ellis-island-tickets/  

I would definitely advise you to book an early security check (the ticket time is your security check time, not your ferry time). I arrived at 8.30 am (my ticket time was 9 am) and there was no line so I got straight through. By the time I returned from the island, just after lunch time the queue was huge.

There is a free audio guide also included in your ticket price.  On both Liberty Island and Ellis Island there are cafe’s, but the food could definitely be improved, they only seemed to serve fast food. I was there in the morning and there were no breakfast options.  

Ellis Island is open every day except the fourth Thursday in November (Thanksgiving) and December 25.

More information on the history of Ellis Island can be found here and here.

Thanks for reading. 

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Quick Stop at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The main reason that I visited the MET whist I was in New York was to look for a staircase that was once located inside Scarsdale Hall in Derbyshire.  I think I covered just about all of the museum but unfortunately, I could not seem to find the staircase anywhere. 

The MET is gigantic and you need at least a day to look around the museum and if you want to read everything, probably a week.  The museum is so big they have the whole facade of a building located in the American Wing, in the The Charles Engelhard Court (picture below). 

I only took photographs on my phone so the quality is not great. There is also a short video at the end of the open storage, which I thought was a great idea as most museums do not let the public access their storage. 

The MET first opened on February 20, 1872, at 681 Fifth Avenue.  In 1871, the museum was granted land between the East Park Drive, Fifth Avenue, and the 79th and 85th Street in Central Park, which is where it resides today. The building has over 2,000,000 square feet of floor space and is 20 times the size of the original building.

Just a few things to note before you go. I got there at about 9.50 am, the museum opens at 10 am and there was a queue of people already waiting for the museum to open. Once the doors open, the queues went down pretty quickly. There are machines inside the main entrance where you can buy tickets, or you can buy them in advance online.  

A visitor admiring the facade of the Branch Bank of the United States (details below).
Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), Jackson Pollock (American, Cody, Wyoming 1912–1956 East Hampton, New York).
From Williamsburg Bridge , Edward Hopper (American, Nyack, New York 1882–1967 New York).
Merced River, Yosemite Valley, 1866, Albert Bierstadt (American, Solingen 1830–1902 New York).

I was especially interested in the whole rooms that the MET had on display. Unfortunately, only one of the pictures came out on my phone.

Boiserie from the Hôtel de Cabris, Grasse.

Thanks for reading.