Walking the hallways of an abandoned hospital would give anyone shivers. But what if apparitions from the past unexpectedly appeared on windows, in rooms, and staircases? Scattered within the South Side hospital complex on Ellis Island, Unframed, is an installation by world-renowned Parisian street artist JR, who installed life-size historical photographs, taken on Ellis Island, on the walls of the hospital.

On our new tour that focuses on the work of this installation, guests will have the opportunity to see all 26 works that are currently installed in the hospital. This includes exclusive access to places not open on any other public tour, including numerous different locations not offered on our standard hard hat tour of the abandoned hospital complex on Ellis Island or any other public tour. Join us in tracking downing JR’s beautifully haunting images while discovering the second floor of the complex and peeking inside what’s known as the “Blue Room,” among other places.

JR is known for his installations of large scale photographs in places accessible to the public like New York City’s Times Square, the Pantheon in Paris, and the favelas of Brazil. For this project, he partnered with Save Ellis Island to install life-size photos from the island’s archives to paste on the walls of the hospital, once the standard for United States medical care, and now left for decay for nearly 60 years.

“Unframed Ellis Island” by JR, a guided tour of the exhibition inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Hospital


  • Discover all 26 site-specific collages by the world-renowned artist JR inside the abandoned hospitals on Ellis Island from the exhibition “Unframed – Ellis Island.”
  • All artworks are life-sized archival photographs of immigrants taken on Ellis Island that reactivate this long forgotten complex. There is even one you will see pasted by actor Robert de Niro.
  • Access 10 locations in the abandoned hospital complex that are completely closed off to the public and open exclusively to attendees of this tour, including the second floor of the general hospital and the visually stunning “Blue Room”
  • Get to know the stories behind each of the photos and learn the history of the abandoned hospitals on a tour led by an expert in JR’s art on Ellis Island
  • Receive a framable 24′ x 36′ poster of one of JR’s most notable pieces at Ellis Island

How this tour differs from our Hard Hat Tour of the Abandoned Hospitals: The JR Tour is 2.5 hours long, longer than the Hard Hat tour and the history of the Ellis Island hospitals is told through the lens of each artwork, led by an expert on the JR installations. You will access numerous additional spaces not available on the Hard Hat Tour, or any other public tour of the abandoned hospitals and receive a 24″ x 35″ framable poster of JR’s artwork. This tour is exclusively offered by Untapped Cities on select dates.

“Unframed Ellis Island” by JR, a guided tour of the exhibition inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Hospital


“Unframed Ellis Island” by JR, a guided tour of the exhibition inside Ellis Island’s Abandoned Hospital