9. An immigration museum

The main hall of the Ellis Island immigration facility.
The main hall of the Ellis Island immigration facility.

After Ellis Island stopped offering Immigration and Naturalization Services in 1954, the government considered Ellis Island a federal surplus. Eleven years later, President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed Ellis Island to be part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, giving control of the island to the National Park Service. However, the island fell into disrepair during this era of neglect and oblivion.

In the 1980s, the National Parks Service created a restoration project that aimed to restore the main immigration building to its appearance during the era of peak immigration between 1918 to 1924. These efforts allowed the Ellis Island Immigration Museum to open to the public in 1990. In 1999, the Park Service began to stabilize buildings in the hospital complex, which remains abandoned and off-limits to the public to this day, except by guided tours, including Untapped New York’s hard hat tour.

Guests in hard hats listen to a guide on the behind-the-scenes Ellis Island abandoned hospital tour

Ellis Island Hospital Tour

Next, check out the short film “Unforgotten: Ellis Island!