American Family Immigration History Center. Explore Your Family History at Ellis Island.  
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Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

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The Immigrant Experience Comes Alive

The museum is located in the Main Building of the former immigration station complex and tells the moving tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered America through the golden door of Ellis Island. Today, the descendants of those immigrants account for almost half of the American people.

The 45-minute Audio Tour, available in nine languages, invites visitors to relive the immigrant experience as if they were the "new arrival" and is ideal for individuals with limited time. Additional tour options describe exhibits in more detail via in-depth interviews with historians, architects and archaeologists. A special children's tour is narrated by "Marty the Muskrat" and is offered in five languages.

Museum Highlights
  • The museum's self-guided exhibits chronicle Ellis Island's role in immigration history and include artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, interactive displays, oral histories, and temporary exhibits.
  • The American Family Immigration History Center®
  • The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®
  • Journeys: The Peopling of America®Center, 1550 - 1890
  • The American Flag of Faces
  • Award-winning film documentary "Island of Hope, Island of Tears" 

Journeys: The Peopling of America® Center, 1550 - 1890
The first phase of the Peopling of America® Center, which explores arrivals before the Ellis Island Era, is now open in the historic Railroad Ticket Office. Visitors move sequentially through the galleries - Leaving, Making the Trip, Arrival, Struggle & Survival, and Building a Nation - which also present the larger issues of immigration that remain still today, such as tensions between newcomers and natives and cultural persistence.

The American Flag of FacesTM
The American Flag of Faces™ 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. To submit family photos, go to The American Flag of Faces.

The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®
A special feature of the Ellis Island museum, the Wall of Honor overlooks the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline and is the longest wall of names in the world. This unique display pays tribute to America's rich cultural heritage, celebrating American immigration from its earliest beginnings right up to the present day, and contains more than 700,000 names inscribed for posterity by family members and friends.

The American Family Immigration History Center®
This is an exciting interactive area at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. You can access the passenger records of the ships that landed some 22 million immigrants, crewmembers, and other passengers at the Port of New York and Ellis Island from 1892 to 1924. More than 100 million Americans may find records of their family's beginnings in the new world here. To prepare for your search, gather as much information as you can, such as: the passenger's first and last names; approximate year of arrival; "ethnicity" (which may include race, nationality, and religion); approximate age on arrival; ship of travel; port of departure; and whether the passenger traveled with other family members. Experienced volunteers can provide guidance so visitors can view manifests and ship images from their ancestor's journey.Featured on the Today Show

Temporary Exhibits

Changing Exhibition Gallery -- Third Floor


West Wing - First Floor


Getting to Ellis Island
Ellis Island is one of the country's most important historic sites and also one of the most heavily visited monuments. Carefully planning your trip will make it more enjoyable. Statue Cruises provides ferry transportation to Ellis Island from Battery Park in New York and Liberty State Park in New Jersey from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily, with extended hours in the summers. For ticket rates and availability and schedule information, call 1-877-LADY TIX or visit
The audio tour is included with the ticket and can be picked up at the audio desk on Ellis Island.

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