Tenement Museum

Landmark Building, Groundbreaking Museum

For 30 years, the Tenement Museum has preserved the Lower East Side’s iconic immigrant history. At the Museum, two historic tenement buildings serve as time capsules of immigrant life from the 19th century to the present day. Inside the buildings, the Museum uses recreated tenement apartments and preserved ‘ruin’ apartments to tell the true stories of immigrant families who followed their aspirations to America.

Get to Know: Tenement Museum

Tenement Museum

Educators

The Tenement Museum is one of New York’s preeminent cultural and educational institutions, welcoming more than 238,000 visitors, including 55,000 students, each year. As a cultural institution focused on immigration, why did you feel it was important to have a presence in The Market Line?

The Tenement Museum hopes to connect the past to the present, helping visitors see themselves and their own lives in the experiences of our immigrant forebears. In many ways, The Market Line also connects the past to the present, as it continues the legacy of the Essex Street Market, which for decades has upheld the food traditions of the immigrant communities who built the Lower East Side. By having a presence in The Market Line, the Museum hopes to make clear that The Market Line was only made possible by the rich contributions of immigrants, who have made the Lower East Side the neighborhood it is today.

In December you opened your latest permanent exhibition, Under One Roof, the first to explore the stories of present day immigrants. With that completed, what’s next for the Tenement Museum?

With the completion of Under One Roof, the Museum is looking to expand its impact dramatically, reaching people across the country who may never even set foot in New York, let alone the Lower East Side. To do so, we have launched a number of new initiatives, such as a range of new digital content: look out for the launch of the Tenement Museum’s first podcast series in the fall! We are also working with schools to create immigration curriculums and partnering with other institutions across the country, so they can tell their own community’s immigrant stories. At a time when immigration is a divisive issue in our country, our goal is to reshape the narrative from one of fear to one of respect and admiration.

Given that you are not selling food, what will you be doing in The Market Line?

While we may not be selling food, we will be celebrating all those who do! The Museum will have a physical exhibit space in The Market Line, showcasing elements of Lower East Side food history. We will also have a section dedicated to our Your Story, Our Story national project: a crowdsourced, digital story telling platform that invites anyone to share their story of immigration or migration using an object of personal significance. Once submitted, those stories become part of the exhibit, which can be browsed or searched for by category and theme. One of our favorite categories is foodways, which includes dishes and recipes from countless cultures and countries. We’re inviting every vendor at The Market Line to submit their own story to the project! We’ll also have a screen displaying information and videos about the Museum and how to visit.

Coolest thing about the Tenement Museum?

One of the coolest things about the Museum is that we are in touch with descendants of almost all of the families we feature on our tours. For example, the descendants of Nathalie Gumpertz and Rosaria Baldizzi, whose stories are set in the late 19th and 20th centuries respectively, and are featured on our Hard Times tour, are even fans of the Museum and visit on occasions like Mother’s Day!

Most surprising fact about the Museum?

What’s unusual about the Tenement Museum is that many of the relics we keep in our collections department found under the floorboards and in the walls of our buildings, left behind by former residents. We like to ask people to imagine a future Tenement Museum in which their trash was displayed and preserved in the Museum because of the insight it provided into the way we live today!

Recommended tour for foodies?

We actually have several food programs at the Museum: Tastings at the Tenement, Foods of the Lower East Side (FLES), Tenement Kitchens, and other more specialized food programs for private events. Tastings at the Tenement and Tenement Kitchens are both part of our late night Thursday schedule. Tastings at the Tenement involves a sit down tasting menu of Lower East Side flavors, past and present, and Tenement Kitchens is more a cooking demonstration of a particular immigrant food tradition. FLES is part of our walking tour program, in which visitors nibble on everything from fried plantains to cream puffs and explore some of the ways immigrant foods have shaped American food.

The Tenement Museum is one of New York’s preeminent cultural and educational institutions, welcoming more than 238,000 visitors, including 55,000 students, each year. As a cultural institution focused on immigration, why did you feel it was important to have a presence in The Market Line?

The Tenement Museum hopes to connect the past to the present, helping visitors see themselves and their own lives in the experiences of our immigrant forebears. In many ways, The Market Line also connects the past to the present, as it continues the legacy of the Essex Street Market, which for decades has upheld the food traditions of the immigrant communities who built the Lower East Side. By having a presence in The Market Line, the Museum hopes to make clear that The Market Line was only made possible by the rich contributions of immigrants, who have made the Lower East Side the neighborhood it is today.

In December you opened your latest permanent exhibition, Under One Roof, the first to explore the stories of present day immigrants. With that completed, what’s next for the Tenement Museum?

With the completion of Under One Roof, the Museum is looking to expand its impact dramatically, reaching people across the country who may never even set foot in New York, let alone the Lower East Side. To do so, we have launched a number of new initiatives, such as a range of new digital content: look out for the launch of the Tenement Museum’s first podcast series in the fall! We are also working with schools to create immigration curriculums and partnering with other institutions across the country, so they can tell their own community’s immigrant stories. At a time when immigration is a divisive issue in our country, our goal is to reshape the narrative from one of fear to one of respect and admiration.

Given that you are not selling food, what will you be doing in The Market Line?

While we may not be selling food, we will be celebrating all those who do! The Museum will have a physical exhibit space in The Market Line, showcasing elements of Lower East Side food history. We will also have a section dedicated to our Your Story, Our Story national project: a crowdsourced, digital story telling platform that invites anyone to share their story of immigration or migration using an object of personal significance. Once submitted, those stories become part of the exhibit, which can be browsed or searched for by category and theme. One of our favorite categories is foodways, which includes dishes and recipes from countless cultures and countries. We’re inviting every vendor at The Market Line to submit their own story to the project! We’ll also have a screen displaying information and videos about the Museum and how to visit.

Coolest thing about the Tenement Museum?

One of the coolest things about the Museum is that we are in touch with descendants of almost all of the families we feature on our tours. For example, the descendants of Nathalie Gumpertz and Rosaria Baldizzi, whose stories are set in the late 19th and 20th centuries respectively, and are featured on our Hard Times tour, are even fans of the Museum and visit on occasions like Mother’s Day!

Most surprising fact about the Museum?

What’s unusual about the Tenement Museum is that many of the relics we keep in our collections department found under the floorboards and in the walls of our buildings, left behind by former residents. We like to ask people to imagine a future Tenement Museum in which their trash was displayed and preserved in the Museum because of the insight it provided into the way we live today!

Recommended tour for foodies?

We actually have several food programs at the Museum: Tastings at the Tenement, Foods of the Lower East Side (FLES), Tenement Kitchens, and other more specialized food programs for private events. Tastings at the Tenement and Tenement Kitchens are both part of our late night Thursday schedule. Tastings at the Tenement involves a sit down tasting menu of Lower East Side flavors, past and present, and Tenement Kitchens is more a cooking demonstration of a particular immigrant food tradition. FLES is part of our walking tour program, in which visitors nibble on everything from fried plantains to cream puffs and explore some of the ways immigrant foods have shaped American food.

The Tenement Museum is one of New York’s preeminent cultural and educational institutions, welcoming more than 238,000 visitors, including 55,000 students, each year. As a cultural institution focused on immigration, why did you feel it was important to have a presence in The Market Line?

The Tenement Museum hopes to connect the past to the present, helping visitors see themselves and their own lives in the experiences of our immigrant forebears. In many ways, The Market Line also connects the past to the present, as it continues the legacy of the Essex Street Market, which for decades has upheld the food traditions of the immigrant communities who built the Lower East Side. By having a presence in The Market Line, the Museum hopes to make clear that The Market Line was only made possible by the rich contributions of immigrants, who have made the Lower East Side the neighborhood it is today.

In December you opened your latest permanent exhibition, Under One Roof, the first to explore the stories of present day immigrants. With that completed, what’s next for the Tenement Museum?

With the completion of Under One Roof, the Museum is looking to expand its impact dramatically, reaching people across the country who may never even set foot in New York, let alone the Lower East Side. To do so, we have launched a number of new initiatives, such as a range of new digital content: look out for the launch of the Tenement Museum’s first podcast series in the fall! We are also working with schools to create immigration curriculums and partnering with other institutions across the country, so they can tell their own community’s immigrant stories. At a time when immigration is a divisive issue in our country, our goal is to reshape the narrative from one of fear to one of respect and admiration.

Given that you are not selling food, what will you be doing in The Market Line?

While we may not be selling food, we will be celebrating all those who do! The Museum will have a physical exhibit space in The Market Line, showcasing elements of Lower East Side food history. We will also have a section dedicated to our Your Story, Our Story national project: a crowdsourced, digital story telling platform that invites anyone to share their story of immigration or migration using an object of personal significance. Once submitted, those stories become part of the exhibit, which can be browsed or searched for by category and theme. One of our favorite categories is foodways, which includes dishes and recipes from countless cultures and countries. We’re inviting every vendor at The Market Line to submit their own story to the project! We’ll also have a screen displaying information and videos about the Museum and how to visit.

Coolest thing about the Tenement Museum?

One of the coolest things about the Museum is that we are in touch with descendants of almost all of the families we feature on our tours. For example, the descendants of Nathalie Gumpertz and Rosaria Baldizzi, whose stories are set in the late 19th and 20th centuries respectively, and are featured on our Hard Times tour, are even fans of the Museum and visit on occasions like Mother’s Day!

Most surprising fact about the Museum?

What’s unusual about the Tenement Museum is that many of the relics we keep in our collections department found under the floorboards and in the walls of our buildings, left behind by former residents. We like to ask people to imagine a future Tenement Museum in which their trash was displayed and preserved in the Museum because of the insight it provided into the way we live today!

Recommended tour for foodies?

We actually have several food programs at the Museum: Tastings at the Tenement, Foods of the Lower East Side (FLES), Tenement Kitchens, and other more specialized food programs for private events. Tastings at the Tenement and Tenement Kitchens are both part of our late night Thursday schedule. Tastings at the Tenement involves a sit down tasting menu of Lower East Side flavors, past and present, and Tenement Kitchens is more a cooking demonstration of a particular immigrant food tradition. FLES is part of our walking tour program, in which visitors nibble on everything from fried plantains to cream puffs and explore some of the ways immigrant foods have shaped American food.