Unforgotten: Ellis Island

A Look Into the Past

Ellis Island may not appear large on a map, but its significance is great, having welcomed more than 12 million immigrants to our shores. Yet, when its role as the country’s first Federal Immigration Station became obsolete, Ellis Island was unceremoniously abandoned in 1954.

Left for more than three decades, the Renaissance Revivalist structure began to decay, taking on an eerie, ghost-like feel. In the mid-1980s, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation initiated the monumental task of restoring Ellis’s main building and creating a museum about the Ellis Island immigration experience.

However, the restoration plan did not include all spaces on Ellis Island. Today, the Baggage and Dormitory (B&D) building, situated just north of the restored main building, is among those virtually frozen in time.

Aaron Asis, in partnership with Untapped Cities, captured the B&D building and other unrestored parts of Ellis Island in his short film Unforgotten: Ellis Island. The latest installment in Asis’s award-winning documentary mini-series, Unforgotten: Ellis Island, reflects on the extraordinary significance of Ellis Island and its impact on our history, memory, and lives through interviews and behind-the-scenes footage of Ellis Island.

On Wednesday, October 18th (12:00-1:00 pm ET), Aaron Asis will join Stephen Lean, Director of the Foundation’s Family History Center, for a virtual screening of Unforgotten: Ellis Island. A live Q&A will follow in which Stephen and Aaron discuss the making of the film and the Ellis Island immigrant experience, including dispelling the myth of names being changed upon entering the Golden Door. The event will be hosted by Untapped New York. RSVP here.