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Lower East Tenement Museum

Lower East Tenement Museum (34)

First of all, it's important to note that this museum is only open for guided tours at the moment, so it's essential to pre-book tickets, well in advance if possible.

At 97 Orchard Street stands a building similar to thousands of other tenements that were distributed around the Lower East Side in the 19th century. These buildings offered rental apartments for newcomers to New York and, for that very reason, they're the ideal place to show what life was like for these people a century and a half ago. 

The various exhibits, which are spread over the entire apartment block, show what daily life was like for those who came to the New World in search of a better future. And you will even find out their full names. For example, you will see the apartment of Natalie Gumpertz, a Jewish seamstress from Germany who arrived here in 1868, and that of Adolph and Rosaria Baldizzi, Catholic immigrants who came from the island of Sicily in 1923. More than 7000 tenants have lived in this building.

In order to create many of the exhibits, the museum had the invaluable help of many neighbours, who actively collaborated by providing old objects and documents. Thanks to their help, you can visit a number of different rooms furnished in impressive detail, including personal hygiene items, rocking chairs, wall clocks, crockery, pans, sewing machines, etc. At that time, many of the newcomers ended up working in the textile industry, the typical profession among the neighbourhood's residents in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

As you can see, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum is a real trip back in time. If you are travelling with kids, you will also love the fact that you will be greeted by an actress playing Victoria Confino, the wife of a Sephardic Jewish family that had arrived from Turkey in 1916. They'll really enjoy it.

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