Museums >Lower East Side Tenement Museum
97 Orchard St, New York, NY | Directions 1000240.718545 -73.990272
Weekdays: 11:15 - 5 pm
Weekends: 10:15 - 5 pm
Daily: 10 - 6 pm
Neighborhoods: Lower East Side, Downtown
If you think living in early 21st-Century NYC is difficult, take a trip back to a hundred or so years ago and see what it was like for immigrants and the underclass on the Lower East Side. The museum offers a range of tours as well as interactive experiences involving "visiting" actors playing characters from the LES's past.
The history lesson you WANTED in HS – The LES Tenement Museum is a must hit for everyone, seriously. The tours are ever expanding, as is the museum itself. The fact that they are able to grow and change is a testament to what they are trying to provide.
This is NY history come to life. And not in the lame cheesy way you might have experienced if you were one of the millions of elementary school students subjected to Sturbridge Village.
This is amazing. I've gone solo, with my parents, with my 16 y/o nephew, with my AARP aunt & uncle. So when I tell you there is something for all generations, I can attest.
All museums need our support, but consider becoming a member here.
Also - allot some time for their book/gift shop. Some great finds collected in one spot so you won't have to spend your Saturday using up your MetroCard when it comes to clever NY centric gifts.
Put this one on your must-do list.
Slice of history! – The LES Tenement Museum is a fantastic step back into time, and a wonderful way to gain a true history lesson on New York. The tour guides are wonderful and so informative, this museum is a MUST!
Amazing and Powerful! – It took us a few years in New York before we made it to the tenement museum...I wish we'd gone sooner! But the great news is that now they offer several tours so you don't get bored, and you also get to see and almost experience what life was like for several diverse types of families that might have lived (and in some cases, did live) in the tenement apartments.
We loved our experience and came away with so much knowledge and a really true and intimate feel for what the family had gone through when living in the tenement. And don't get me started on the gift shop - DON'T miss it! We'll be back soon.
Orchard Street's museum documents both everyday family lives and the broader history of immigration. – In Short
The Lower East Side Tenement Museum was founded in 1988. The building that houses the museum, a preserved tenement at 97 Orchard Street, was called home by some 7,000 people from more than 20 nations--from Turkish and German Jews to Sicilian Catholics--over the course of 72 years (between 1863 and 1935). In 1998, the museum became a protected building under the aegis of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
Compelling historic slice of New York city life – Spent a fulfilling family afternoon here recently. As soon as you enter this building, rich with history, you taste what it was like for families living in NYC's tenements and stay immersed for the next few hours. Very knowledgable guide. The museum's scheduled walking tours center around different themes (eg garment industry of early NY) and we saw 3 units preserved and explained in relation to that theme. The heart of the museum is stories of families just trying to survive. Our amazing guide said at the end (paraphrasing) "we must preserve how these families lived because it is just as much a part of our history as Gettysburg." 3 of the mothers in our group got a little misty. We did waitvover an hour for a tour but that could've been because we had a group of 10.
LIKE GOING BACK IN TIME – This museum is like going back in time. There's so much information. Worthwhile!
Interesting – Very interesting place, but still a work in progress. Tour was made extra special by our guide Rose who pointed out an interesting walk of the neigbourhood. A large group would dilute the experience.
Manhattan real estate – I wasn't as impressed as I'd hoped to be. Maybe because I share a two-bedroom apartment with 3 other people here in NY, I thought that with some paint, light fixtures, and a bathroom, those apartments wouldn't be so bad. Granted, I don't have ancestors who came through NY so I don't have an emotional connection to immigrants of that time, though the two apartments decorated like period homes did help give a face to those who had lived there. However, the most intriguing feature for me was where someone had scribbled on the walls of one of the apartments and I wish our guide had talked about this sign of human presence. I think that for visitors to NY, or someone who had immigrant ancestors, or someone who has never lived in tight quarters, the museum will likely be much more powerful than it was for me.
A Different Museum Experience – The Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a unique New York institution. They have preserved a tenement building on Orchard Street in its early 20th century state (the walls are crumbling and you can see all the layers of wallpaper over the years). My family had a great experience with the excellent tour guide, Rose Tennenbaum (I may have misspelled her last name). The building is unairconditioned and small so be prepared. Rose provided paper fans for each person on the tour which was key to enjoying the tour. Rose told us about each room in the building. I'll never forget the image of my kids fanning Rose as she spoke to us about the history of the families who lived in the tenement. The video in the bookshop is worth watching although the TV is small. A unique New York City experience!
Time Travel – I've had a lot of expectations based on the reviews that I got but they were all exceeded immensely.
It's pretty much like going back in time and being able to relive some aspects of your ancestors life.
You can learn about life in its purest form here.
Very intellectually stimulating!
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