Ellis island

Hello, nice to meet you,I’m a student of the Miniemeninstitute, Belgium and I study International Project Management. Last Autumn break I went on a trip to New York, where I visited Ellis Island our class is working on a project that had to do with oppression. I thought that Ellis island would illustrate why people left their country, because of oppression or war and sought refuge in a new country, the United States of America.

The arrival room

Every day for 2 decades the registry room was filled with new arrivals waiting to be inspected and registered by immigration officials.

On many days over 5,000 people would file through the space.

Here they encountered the complex demands of the immigration laws, that could either grant or withhold permission to land in the United States.


Through America's gate 

The west wing was the wing were the new arrivals experienced the first immigration inspection depot.

Ellis Island main function was to screen out those who were considered undesirable, the ill people.

For 2% it meant exclusion and a return trip back to their homeland.

Annie Moore

She was Irish and also the first immigrant processed on Ellis island on January 1, 1892.

She was 15 when she arrived together with her 2 brothers Anthony 14 and Philip 12 at the New York Harbour or Ellis island.

She was given a $10 gold piece from an official which was equivalent to $267 in 2015.



Different faces of migration

During the 19th century, the majority of immigrants to the United States came from England, Ireland, Germany and the Scandinavian countries. 

By the 1880s the immigration pattern changed and expanded including arrivals from Italy, Russia and Austria- Hungary.

The largest groups came from Italy (4 million people) and Eastern Jews (2.3 million people) but it wasn't only Europe; people came from other parts of the world too including Canada, Mexico, the West Indies, China and Japan. 



Passage to America

By the 1880s steamships had largely replaced sailing vessels in the transportation of the immigrants to the US.

The Atlantic crossing lasted 8 to 14 days, relatively short when compared to earlier voyages on sailing ships that took 1 to 3 months. 

Most immigrants recall sighting land as the happiest moment of the ocean crossing, the land of promises was right before them. 


Treasures from home 

The generosity of America's immigrants and their children donated these presents to the museum.

The items were belongings that came from their homeland.

Most brought a mix of functional things (bibles, prayers books, family documents) and traditional things (clothes, shoes, handmade linens and jewelry.