Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration

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Ellis Island is a museum and a piece of history all by itself. 

You must visit this museum, as it’s a great place to gather cultural knowledge. It tells the fascinating tale of American immigration.

Explore a living memorial to the history of the American people at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.

The Ellis Island Museum is located inside the renovated Main Building of the former immigration complex. 

It takes you back in time through a carefully chosen collection of images, artifacts and searchable historical documents. 

Visitors can learn more about the hopeful ancient immigrants while viewing the Great Hall, luggage room and refurbished dormitories. 

Highlights of the National Immigration Museum at Ellis Island

These exhibits clarify the immigration process and enable tourists to understand the complexities of the American melting pot.

A Snapshot of America: Flag of Faces

Remember to check out the interactive installation called ‘The American Flag of Faces,’ which honors the nation’s diverse population.

The installation is a sizable digital mosaic that combines historical portraits to paint a picture of the national character.

It depicts a plethora of faces representing Americans from different backgrounds and eras of our history. 

The Flag of Faces is made from a combination of historical photos and entries submitted by users worldwide.

It reminds us of the Great Seal of America’s slogan, “E Pluribus Unum”—” Out of many, one.” 

The Flag of Faces is a work in progress that changes daily. 

Visitors can contribute to this installation by submitting their or their ancestors’ images. 

The Ellis Island Museum charges a donation of $50 for every entry. 

The Entire Story: People of America Center

The “Journeys: The Peopling of America – the 1550s-1890” pre-Ellis Island galleries let you learn about immigration during the Colonial and Victorian eras.

Before the Ellis Island processing station opened in 1892 and after it closed in 1954, the Peopling of America Center at Ellis Island chronicled the immigration of Native Americans, which visitors could access. 

You can enjoy the fascinating journey of immigrants through interpretive graphics and moving audio recordings. 

The Ellis Island tour offers complimentary National Museum of Immigration tickets.

Immigration Museum Exhibits

National Immigration Museum at Ellis Island
Image: Rabbit75_cav (canva)

One of the most interesting places to visit on your Statue of Liberty tour is the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum. 

It is housed in the former immigration complex’s restored main building, showcasing the stories of American heroes and the real definition of the American dream.

Apart from the obvious highlight, Lady Liberty, everyone must visit the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. 

The National Museum of Immigration has a special exhibit section on the ground, second, and third floors. 

The ground floor is a bustling place and you will first encounter the introductory exhibits about immigration and signage to guide your visit. 

“Journeys” is an exhibit on this floor exploring the early history of immigration before Ellis Island was opened as an immigration station. 

Further, explore the digital displays and an array of exhibits recounting the tales of innumerable people becoming Americans in the “Citizenship Gallery.”

The second floor is the Registry Room, the iconic arched ceiling room with enormous windows that has become synonymous with the National Museum of Immigration. 

The room has been restored to what it would have been back in 1918-24. It is also sometimes known as the “Great Hall.” 

Explore the Hearing Room and the fascinating Through America’s Gate exhibit, describing step-by-step what most new arrivals experienced on Ellis Island. 

Peak Immigration Years:1880-1924, is an exhibit on the east wing of the museum’s second floor capturing highlights of the period. 

The third floor features the dormitory, where immigrants are temporarily detained. 

One fascinating exhibit on the east wing of the third floor is the Ellis Island Chronicles, which recounts the island’s history. 

Treasures from Home is an exhibit on this floor, a collection of artifacts donated to the National Park by families who came to the USA during the peak immigration years.

“Silent Voices” depicts the period after. The government closed Ellis Island. 

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A Gift Shop

Given how unique and fascinating the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum is, you will likely want to pick up a souvenir during your visit. 

One gift shop on the first floor houses a bookstore, Ellis Island Cafe, Theatre 1, access to the Wall of Honor and the American Family Immigration History Center, and an information desk. 

You can purchase some fascinating memorabilia and gifts for yourself and your family. 

From coffee mugs to different small decorative items, you will find a sizeable selection to pick from. 

Don’t forget to browse through the bookstore. You might find something that catches your eye. 

Ellis Island Immigration Museum Facts

Ellis Island Immigration Museum Facts
Image: Visual.ly

The history of Ellis Island goes as far back as the history of the Statue of Liberty. Thus, the Immigration Museum encapsulates plenty of fascinating stories. 

Before your visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, here are some facts to get you excited about the tour. 

  • Ellis Island was opened on January 1st, 1892, and became the nation’s premier federal immigration station.
  • Before becoming a station for processing immigration, the island was used as a place where pirates and criminals were condemned to death. 
  • During this time, the island came to be known as “Gibbet Island” after the gibbet or posts where the criminals were hanged. 
  • The first-ever immigrants were technically children: a 17-year-old minor girl named Annie Moore, who came with her two younger siblings. 
  • The island was originally much smaller, at 3.3 acres. Gradually, it was expanded with fill dirt to its present size of 27.5 acres. 
  • The island is named after Samuel Ellis, who owned it until New York purchased it in the 1770s. 
  • Even though Ellis Island is part of New York, it technically sits in the water that belongs to New Jersey. 
  • One of Ellis Island’s fascinating aspects is the Family History Center, where visitors can research their ancestors. 
  • Up until it remained in operation in 1954, the facility processed over 12 million immigrants. 
  • The present Ellis Island National Immigration Museum was opened on September 10, 1990. It was being restored after being abandoned for 30 years. 

It’s Opening Hours

The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration’s opening hours are quite similar to the Statue of Liberty ferry schedule. 

The museum’s opening hours are from 9.45 am to 4.45 pm, but like the Statue of Liberty, it remains open all week. 

Ellis Island remains open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas, so visitors needn’t worry about timing their visit. 

As long as you know, the ferry schedule from NYC or NJ, Ellis Island, the Wall of Honor, and the Family History Center are open to visitors. 

Directions to Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Directions to Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Image: Nps.gov

The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is located at Ellis Island Bridge, Jersey City, NJ. 

Click here to know the pinpoint Ellis Island Immigration Museum location and open it on Google Maps. 

Visitors need to catch a ferry from two locations to reach the museum location. 

One is Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York, and the other is Liberty State Park in New Jersey. 

However, multiple public and private ways exist to reach these two destinations from where the ferries leave. 

Using the elaborate network of the New York Subway, followed by a taxi, is the most recommended way. 

Read How to Reach the Statue of Liberty for more detailed information. 

Ellis Island Immigration Museum Ferry

Visitors looking to arrive at Ellis Island will take the same ferry that arrives and departs from Liberty Island from the two locations. 

These two locations are Battery Park, at the southern tip of Manhattan in New York, and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. 

Thus, the museum ferry timing is the same as the ferry schedule from New York and New Jersey. 

If you are taking a ferry from New York, it departs from Battery Park at 9 am and leaves every 25 minutes. 

The last ferry departs from the mainland at 3.30 pm and from Ellis Island at 4.40 pm. 

If you are visiting from New Jersey, then the ferries depart from Liberty State Park. The timing remains the same as the ferries to New York. 

The last return trip ferry is at 5 pm from Liberty Island for both sides.

Tickets to Ellis Island Immigration Museum

Tickets to Ellis Island Immigration Museum
Image: Npr.org

There are no Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration tickets or fees for visiting the museum or the grounds. 

You need only a valid ticket to board the ferry, including an Ellis Island tour. 

You can buy a tour of the Statue of Liberty, which will give you access to Liberty and Ellis Island.  

Unlike Ellis Island, you can upgrade to purchase a Pedestal ticket or guided tour to the Statue of Liberty, enjoy your visit and get access to the Statue’s interior. 


1. What is the history of the National Museum of Immigration?

2. Is Ellis Island a museum now?

3. Can you walk on Ellis Island?

4. Is Ellis Island worth visiting?

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