Ellis Island

Ellis Island

Ellis Island, located near Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty, is one of the most important historical sites in New York City and you should not miss a visit.

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It was at this spot that the main immigration station was located, through which all foreign travelers coming to New York to live their American dream passed. In total, more than 12 million immigrants passed through the immigration building on Ellis Island.

Today, the site serves as a very interesting museum of immigration, which is one of the cornerstones of how the United States functions.

Island of Tears, Island of Hope

The nickname first applied to Ellis Island by Charles Guggenheim in his documentary film is perhaps most appropriate for the island.

The Federal Immigration Station on Ellis Island operated between 1892 and 1954 as a single point for processing applications for immigration and entry into the US. It was not until after 1954 that applications could be made at foreign embassies.

Until then, it was only at Ellis Island that decisions were made as to whether immigrants would be admitted or sent back to their home countries. And that is why this place combined the hope of a better life, but also the tears and the collapse of a dream when refused entry into the country...

Museum of Immigration - admission and information

Today, the sprawling Immigration Department building serves as a large three-story museum of immigration and immigration. It is classified as a National Historic Landmark and is one of the most visited museums in the United States.

In the very large and successful exhibition, you will learn a lot of interesting information about the emergence of the modern USA, of which immigration and the integration of cultures from all over the world is a fundamental pillar. The exhibition is thematically divided into several sections:

  • Photographs and video recordings of immigrant stories.
  • A tour of the large registration room
  • A tour of the room used to accommodate immigrants whose applications took longer to process
  • The "Treasures from Home" exhibit contains more than 2,000 items immigrants have exchanged for dollars at a local currency exchange
  • The "Gateway to America" exhibit details the entire immigration process
  • The "Key Years of Immigration" exhibit depicts the peak years of immigration and illuminates the reasons for leaving their home countries

Admission to the museum is free or included in the price of the ferries, see below.

Official museum website: statueofliberty.org/ellis-island

Wall of Honor

The second attraction at Ellis Island is the unique Wall of Honor. The more than 800 panels currently feature nearly one million names of immigrants, as well as Native Americans who were involved in the immigration process in any way.

You can also find the names of your ancestors and, for a fee from 225 usd, you can even leave the name of your ancestors who have proven they settled in the U.S. on the Wall of Honor. Official information can be found at statueofliberty.org/support/wall-of-honor.

Ferries to Ellis Island: price and timetable

The only official Statue Citycruises company that provides cruises from Manhattan and New Jersey to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It departs from piers in Battery Park or Liberty State Park in New Jersey. There are 3 ticket options to choose from, and prices from both ports are the same:

  • General Admission24 USD Including admission and ferries to Liberty Island and Ellis Island and including admission to the Museum of Immigration,
  • Pedestal Reserve Ticket24,30 USD plus admission to the Statue of Liberty pedestal. Tickets are limited in number and require early reservations,
  • Crown Reserve Ticket24,30 USD allows you extra access to the crown. Please make your reservations at least 4-6 months in advance.

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