Explore Ellis Island

Activity 3

Grout Museum District Excursion

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Explore Ellis Island

Library of Congress, Immigrant Landing Station, N.Y. LC-USZ62-37784 c1905 Feb. 24

After 1892, Immigrants who came to America from Europe and other countries came through Ellis Island. Sometimes thousands of people passed through Ellis Island in a single day! Immigrants were directed through several stations before they were free to enter the country.

Step 1 - Take a Tour

Take an interactive tour of Ellis Island. Be sure to explore each of the eight stops in the journey through Ellis Island.

Step 2 - Explore Pictures and Videos

Then explore pictures of immigrants in various parts of Ellis Island around 1900. Next search and view the following videos from American Memory Collections. Hint: In the upper right-hand corner is a search box. Type in the name of the video and click "Search."
Video 1: "Arrival of Immigrants at Ellis Island" Depicts scenes at the Immigration Depot and a nearby dock on Ellis Island. Appears to show, first, a group of immigrants lined up to board a vessel leaving the island, then another group arriving at the island and being directed off of the dock and into the Depot by a uniformed official. Video 2: Emigrants [i.e. immigrants] landing at Ellis Island / Thomas A. Edison, Inc. The film opens with a view of the steam ferryboat "William Myers," laden with passengers, approaching a dock at the Ellis Island Immigration Station. The vessel is docked, the gangway is placed, and the immigrant passengers are seen coming up the gangway and onto the dock, where they cross in front of the camera.

Step 3 - Choose a Character

Become an immigrant by choosing a character from one of these pictures. Be sure to read the caption so you learn as much about the picture as you can.

Step 4 - Write a letter

Write a letter telling your family back home about your experience passing through Ellis Island.

Awaiting examination, Ellis Island From: Selected Images of Ellis Island and Immigration, ca. 1880-1920, from the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress

Describe all eight stops in your letter.
  • Arrival at the large receiving building at Ellis Island
  • The Baggage Room
  • Stairway to the Great Hall
  • Medical Examination
  • The Great Hall
  • The Legal Inspection
  • Money Exchange
  • The Journey’s End

New York. Ellis Island  Immigrants walking across pier from bridge From: Selected Images of Ellis Island and Immigration, ca. 1880-1920, from the Prints & Photographs Division of the Library of Congress

Step 5 - Tell about Your Journey

Then tell about your journey from Ellis Island in New York to Waterloo. How did you travel? What did you see? Who were you with?

Immigrant Landing at Ellis Island, Brown Brothers, ca. 1908, Records of the Public Health Service, 90-G-22D-42

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