American Family Immigration History Center. Explore Your Family History at Ellis Island.  
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The first phase of the Peopling of America® Center, a major expansion of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum which explores arrivals before the Ellis Island Era, opened in October 2011. Located in the historic Railroad Ticket Office, this 10,000 square foot experience focuses on immigration patterns from pre-Colonial America to the opening of Ellis Island. It highlights global reasons for immigration, describes both voluntary and involuntary forms of immigration, and underscores some of the historical debates and discussions about immigration in America.

Visitors move sequentially through the galleries following the themes: Leaving, Making the Trip, Arrival, Struggle & Survival, and Building a Nation. Interpretative graphics and poignant audio stories tell first-hand accounts of the immigrant’s journey.

Also just recently launched is the American Flag of Faces™, a living exhibit “built” by the American people, which illustrates the ever-changing American mosaic. This large interactive video installation, located in the museum’s main entrance hall, is an animated red, white and blue flag filled with a montage of images submitted by individuals of their families, their ancestors, or even themselves. Visitors can search by name to call up a photo, which will then dynamically appear in the center of the Flag. Family photos can be submitted and viewed online at Mail-in instructions are also outlined on the website.

The Peopling of America® Center’s second phase will focus on the immigration experience from the closing of Ellis Island in 1954 to the present day and is expected to open in 2013.

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