Statue of Liberty National Monument

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Quick Overview

This is the audio-only described version for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island park brochure. It contains maps, historic black and white and contemporary color photographs, timelines and text that present the history of the park and how to plan your visit. Side one focuses on the Statue of Liberty. Side two focuses on Ellis Island.

The top left side of side one of the brochure features two color photographs--one of Ellis Island and one of the Statue of Liberty. They are described below. The rest of the content and descriptions are described under their own sections.

  1. Photo caption: Main Building, Ellis Island. Photo description: A vivid color photograph of the Main Immigration Building and its front entrance as it appears today. The building's imposing size and scale make the park visitors in the photograph appear small in comparison. Visitors are mostly seen on the walkway that leads to the building’s entrance. The walkway is covered by a steel canopy cover, painted a deep red color. The canopy roof has glass panels which allow light and shadow to dapple the walkway below it. The building itself was built in the French Renaissance style with four large towers that anchor the center of the building. The two visible towers are topped with copper domes with finials and ornamentation. The domes have a dark, green patina. The building is made of red brick with tan limestone lintels and friezes. Three two-story arched windows adorn the front of the building. The center one is obscured by the canopy. The picture was taken on a bright sunny day with a deep blue sky and fluffy white clouds. Photo credit: NPS 
  2. Photo caption: Statue of Liberty. Photo description: This color photograph is a close-up view of the Statue of Liberty's head, right arm, and torch. She is in profile, facing left. Her green patina shows brightly in the sun. A small top portion of the tablet that she holds in her left arm, is visible just below her chin. In the statue's right extended arm, she holds a torch in her hand. It has a gold-gilt sculpted flame. The torch is held high and rises above the five visible pointed triangular rays that extend from the crown on the statue's head. Photo credit: NPS 

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Plan Your Visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

You can reach the sites only by Statue Cruises, LLC: 1-877-523-9849 Advance purchase is recommended. 

Your round-trip ferry ticket includes access to the grounds of Liberty Island and full access to the Immigration Museum at Ellis Island. For Pedestal/Museum and Crown access, you must make specific reservations with Statue Cruises. Pedestal/Museum passes and Crown tickets are limited. 

Ferries depart from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. To visit both islands in one day, plan to take an early ferry. Closed December 25.

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For Teachers

To learn more about educational opportunities, look under ”Learn About the Park” on our park websites. 

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Security and Safety

  • Due to strict security screening, please do not bring large bags, backpacks, suitcases, or other large items into park.  
  • All visitors and their belongings are subject to search before boarding vessels.  
  • All weapons and dual-use and dangerous items, including pocket knives, are strictly prohibited.  
  • No animals allowed other than service dogs.  
  • Private boats are not permitted to dock at either island.  
  • No skating or skateboarding.  

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More Information

  • Statue of Liberty National Monument, which includes Ellis Island, is one of over 400 areas in the National Park System. To learn more visit The park is a World Heritage Site. 
  • Address: Statue of Liberty National Monument; New York, NY 10004  
  • Phone: 212-363-3200 
  • Statue of Liberty website: 
  • Ellis Island website: 

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Map: Statue of Liberty National Monument

At the top right of side one within the Planning Your Visit section is a small map of the park. North points up. To the west is the state of New Jersey. To the east is the state of New York. In between the two states is the Hudson River. Ellis Island and then Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located, are just left of the center of the map. Liberty Island is south of Ellis Island. East of these two Islands is Governors Island National Monument, which is on Governors Island in the Hudson River and at the mouth of the East River in between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Ferries take you to both Ellis and Liberty islands and depart from Liberty State Park in New Jersey at the Railroad Terminal and from Battery Park in Manhattan close to Castle Clinton National Monument.  

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Illustration and Poem: The New Colossus

DESCRIBING: A sepia-toned, horizontal illustration.

DESCRIPTION: Immigrants stand on a crowded deck of a steamship entering New York Harbor. The ship is in the foreground and is about to pass the Statue of Liberty on its port side. The statue is in the right background of the illustration. It is just a silhouette of the iconic landmark. Many of the immigrants look toward the Statue. Some point toward her. Trying to get a better look, others climb the ship's rigging.

CAPTION: Immigrants and statue, from Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper, 1887.

CREDIT: Library of Congress.

RELATED TEXT: Above and below this illustration is the text of the 1883 Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus." It reads:

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand

A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame

Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name

Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand

Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command

The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she

With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

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Liberty Enlightening the World

The majority of the top half of the brochure underneath the planning your visit information and to the right of the The New Colossus poem is text, a timeline and two images. The text follows. The timeline and images are under their own sections.

Even before it took its place at America’s gateway, the Statue of Liberty overwhelmed those who saw it. Parisians, watching the statue’s construction in their city in the 1880s, proclaimed it the “eighth wonder of the world.” Set atop its pedestal in 1886, it was the tallest structure in New York City—and the tallest statue in the world. 

In 1865 a group of French intellectuals led by Edouard de Laboulaye, protesting political repression in their own country, decided to honor the ideals of freedom and liberty with a symbolic gift to the United States. The time was right: The Civil War was over, slavery was abolished, and the nation looked toward its centennial. 

Nationalism, prosperity, and new technology forged an era of monument building. Auguste Bartholdi, Laboulaye’s young sculptor friend, seized the chance to create a modern-day Colossus. Twenty-one years later and an ocean away, “Liberty Enlightening the World” stood complete in New York Harbor. After the 1886 dedication, the president of France proclaimed that Liberty would “magnify France beyond the seas.” 

But Liberty’s image was already being transformed by its adopted home. Amid massive immigration in the late 1800s, the notion of Liberty as the “Mother of Exiles” touched the minds and hearts of the public despite a growing number of restrictive immigration laws. In 1883 the young writer Emma Lazarus wrote a poem for a fundraiser for the statue’s pedestal. She titled it “The New Colossus” after the Colossus of Rhodes, the ancient statue that inspired Bartholdi. Her work gained lasting fame in 1903 when it was inscribed on a bronze plaque and affixed to the pedestal. 

As immigration plummeted during World War I, Liberty’s role evolved: Staring out from glossy posters, telling citizens to buy war bonds or enlist in the military, Liberty was America personified. Later years have seen the statue’s image used to lead political movements, satirize national policy, sell lemons, illuminate living rooms, and attract tourists from around the world. 

As you explore Liberty Island and the statue, consider Bartholdi’s philosophy: “Colossal statuary does not consist simply in making an enormous statue. It ought to produce an emotion in the breast of the spectator, not because of its volume, but because its size is in keeping with the idea that it interprets, and with the place which it ought to occupy.” The shaping and reshaping of its symbolism, over time and throughout the world, make experiencing the original statue in its original setting all the more important—and wondrous.

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Statue of Liberty Timeline

  • 1811 Star-shaped Fort Wood built on Bedloe’s (Liberty) Island. 
  • 1865 Laboulaye, Bartholdi, and others conceive idea of a monument to liberty. 
  • 1871 Bartholdi tours US, chooses site in New York Harbor. 
  • 1874 Fundraising for statue begins in France. 
  • 1876 Liberty’s arm and torch displayed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. 
  • 1879 Gustave Eiffel designs statue’s internal framework. 
  • 1881–84 Statue assembled in Paris. Foundation work begins on Bedloe’s Island. 
  • 1884 Noted architect Richard Morris Hunt designs pedestal. 
  • 1885 Statue dismantled and shipped to New York. Joseph Pulitzer begins fundraising for pedestal in New York World. 
  • 1886 Statue reassembled on Bedloe’s Island. Dedicated Oct. 28. 
  • 1892 Ellis Island immigration station opens. 
  • 1916 Munitions depot explosion damages statue’s arm; torch closed to public permanently. 
  • 1924 Statue of Liberty declared a national monument. 
  • 1933 National Park Service takes over administration of statue from War Department. 
  • 1956 Bedloe’s Island renamed Liberty Island. 
  • 1986 Restoration completed for statue’s centennial celebration. 
  • 2001 Statue closes after September 11 attacks. Island reopens Dec. 20. 
  • 2004 Pedestal reopens Aug. 3 with safety and security upgrades. 
  • 2009 Crown reopens to visitors July 4.

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Images: The Construction and Completion of the Statue

A black and white historic image is tucked in the middle of timeline text. Below and to the right is a contemporary color photo of the statue, whose arm is raised within a section of the timeline text. Both images are further described below.

  1. Illustration caption: Sculptor Auguste Bartholdi (second from right) in Paris workshop. Illustration description: This black and white drawing depicts the interior of the workshop in Paris, France where the Statue of Liberty was constructed. It is dominated by the large wooden framework armature or wooden skeleton of the statue's left hand and tablet. In the left foreground and right next to the statue’s fingers, a worker stands at a sawhorse with tools. Another worker stands in the palm of the statue’s hand working on the left thumb, which is twice his height. A third worker covered in white plaster dust sits on the cuff of the Statue's sleeve. Bartholdi is one of two well-dressed men in long coats standing close to the statue’s wrist in the right foreground. He points to the wooden framework of the hand. The other man, who wears a top hat and with his hand on his hip, looks where Bartholdi points. Illustration credit: NPS 
  2. Photo and graphic description: A color photo of the Statue of Liberty includes a graphic insertion in the statue’s center from its feet to upper torso, revealing the statue’s internal structure. The photograph includes the base on which the statue stands. The base has three tiers of stone topped by a more decorative neo-classical style pedestal on top of which is the statue. The three-tiered base is on top of Fort Wood, which is a stone, star-shaped fort. The statue itself is a classically robed female figure holding a keystone-shaped tablet in her left hand. She holds a torch with a golden gilt flame in her right hand with her right arm extended high above her head. A crown with seven pointed triangular rays projecting outward on the front top portion of her head. The cutaway illustration reveals the internal support structure including a central pylon, steel armature system, and tie rods securing her to the pedestal. Rising through the center of the pylon is a double helix stairway which runs from the feet of the statue to the crown. Also visible behind a floor to ceiling window in the Fort Wood bottom section of the base is the display of the original torch replaced during the restoration of the 1980s. Text to the right of the statue notes the statue’s specifications, They are: Height of statue: one hundred and fifty-one feet and one inch or forty-six meters. Height from ground to torch: three hundred and five feet and one inch or ninety-three meters. Thickness of copper shell: three of thirty-two sections of an inch or two-point-four millimeters. Photo credit: Catherine Gehm; Graphic illustration credit: Dan Foley 

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Your Visit to the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island

The majority of the bottom portion of side one includes additional information about planning your visit to the statue. The text and a description of a photograph of the inside of the statue’s crown follow. The detailed map description of Liberty Island and the location of amenities are under their own sections.

  • Liberty Island: Liberty Island has a National Park Service Information Center, cafe, bookstore, and gift shop on the grounds. Audio tours are available in several languages. Check at the Information Center for National Park Service Ranger tours and programs.
  • Museum and Observation Level: A reserved Pedestal/Museum pass allows you to visit the Statue of Liberty exhibit and original torch and to go to the observation level at the top of the pedestal to view the statue’s interior. See “Plan Your Visit” above.
  • Crown Access: Crown access is limited and is by reservation only, with a small additional charge. For ticket information, see “Plan Your Visit” above.
  • Accessibility: We strive to make our facilities, services, and programs accessible to all. For information go to the Information Center, ask a park ranger, call, or check our website.
  • Monument Security Information: A second security screening, similar to airport security procedures, is required for all visitors with Pedestal/Museum passes and Crown tickets. Please allow extra time for this screening.
  • A limited locker facility (fee) is provided on the island for small items and strol­lers.
  • If you have questions or special needs, contact the park staff before visiting.
  • For updated park and security policies, please contact the park staff; see “Plan Your Visit” above. If you have questions or need assistance while in the park, please contact a National Park Service Ranger or US Park Police Officer.
  • Photo caption: Interior of statue’s crown. Photo description: Taken at a distance and from above, across the middle portion of the photo is the row of 24 windows that make up the band of the statue's crown on top of which the pointed rays extend when you view the statue from the outside. The windows and wall are curved outward, reflecting the inside shape of the statue’s curved crown. In the center foreground is a portion of the curving top step and landing of the spiral staircase where visitors can stand to peer out of the windows. The metal stair rails with multiple bars and the internal support structure of curved beams that follow the shape of the statue’s head are also shown.

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Illustrated Map: Liberty Island

Map description: This bird's eye view of Liberty Island allows us to peer at a downward angle from above at the statue and the entire island. The almond shaped island is oriented with the northeast side of the island on top. The statue is located on the southern tip of the island and faces south. Its back is to the rest of the island. It sits on top of the eleven-pointed star-shaped base labeled Fort Wood.

Behind the statue is a rectangular-shaped plaza oriented south to north with a white tent labeled Pedestal Entrance, Security Screening, and Lockers and is close to bottom points of Fort Wood. On the east side of the plaza and Pedestal Entrance and also within close distance of the statue is a path that leads to an area labeled Sculpture Garden. The northern far end of the plaza opposite the statue is a circular area, with a flag in the center. It is labeled Flagpole Plaza.

A path leads away from the flagpole plaza toward the west side of the island. The path is cross-shaped with a building labeled Information Center on the north side of the path. The information center is marked with the international symbol for Information. There is a building labeled Cafe and Bookstore on the south side of the path. This building is labeled with the symbols for food service, bookstore, and telephones. In the center of the path is a small tent labeled Audio Tour pavilion. This pavilion is labeled with the symbol for an audio tour. If you follow the path west through the brick gates, you reach a pier, labeled Ferry Dock, projecting out into the water.

Southeast and right next to the Ferry Dock and Audio Tour Pavilion area on this west side of the island is an open plaza labeled Cafe Plaza where there is a large building labeled Gift Shop. The Gift Shop is labeled with the international symbols for gift shop, restrooms, baby changing station, and ATM. This perimeter path takes you around the edge of the entire island. If you continue in a southeasterly direction on the path you will pass the front of the statue. When you are just past the statue’s front and are at her left side, you have reached a second pier extending into the water. Continuing just a little further is also the September 11 Memorial Grove, both located in the southeastern area of the island. An arrow points east in the direction of Manhattan from this point on the map. If you continue past the September 11 Memorial Grove to the top of the map an arrow points northeast in the direction of Ellis Island. The map's legend indicates that a little over three-quarters of an inch is 100 feet or 30 meters. Map credit: NPS

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Ellis Island

Side two of the brochure focuses on the history and planning your visit to Ellis island. Across the top one-fifth of the brochure is a historic photograph of immigrants and some of their artifacts. Below the immigrant photograph is text about the history of Ellis Island. Below this is a timeline. The bottom half of side two provides a map of Ellis Island and three floor plans within the Ellis Island Immigration Museum along with information about planning your visit. The text of the history of Ellis Island follows. Other information and images are presented under their own sections. 

Millions of Americans can claim ancestors who came through Ellis Island. Religious persecution, political strife, unemployment, family connections, the lure of adventure: These were the circumstances of the greatest migration in modern history, when shipload after shipload of people, mostly Europeans, came to the United States. Beginning in 1892, the majority took their first steps toward becoming Americans at Ellis Island. Today Ellis Island is a memorial to all who have made this nation their adopted home.

In the decade after the American Revolution, about 5,000 people immigrated to the United States every year. By the early 1900s, that many arrived at Ellis Island each day, with a record 11,747 on April 17, 1907. All told, some 12 million came through Ellis Island. The immigration station at Ellis Island opened on January 1, 1892. Five years later the wooden structure burned, along with many immigration records. On December 17, 1900, a new, fireproof French Renaissance-­style building welcomed new arrivals. Ferries and barges brought steerage passengers from steamships. As immigrants entered the building and climbed the stairs, doctors watched for a limp, labored breathing, or other suspected troubles.

In the Registry Room (Great Hall), inspectors asked immigrants their name, hometown, occupation, destination, and amount of money they carried—up to 31 questions in all. Those allowed to pass continued downstairs, exchanged money, bought provisions and perhaps rail tickets. A third or so stayed in New York City; others headed elsewhere. While 20 percent were held back for further medical or legal examination, only about two percent were denied entry.

After the inspection process was transferred to US consulates in the 1920s, only a small number of detained immigrants passed through Ellis Island. In 1954 it closed completely. Buildings deteriorated until restoration began in the 1980s. Today at Ellis Island you can retrace the steps of people pursuing new lives in a new land.

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Ellis Island Timeline

  • 1774: Samuel Ellis purchases island.  
  • 1808: Federal government acquires island for harbor defense. Fort Gibson completed 1811.  
  • 1855–90: Immigration processing is done by individual states; Castle Garden (now Castle Clinton National Monument) is immigration station for New York State.  
  • 1886: Statue of Liberty dedicated.  
  • 1890–91: Immigration is now under federal control. New York station is at the Barge Office in Battery Park.  
  • 1892: New station opens at Ellis Island; destroyed by fire in 1897.  
  • 1900: Present Main Building opens; built of brick trimmed with limestone and granite. 
  • 1901–10: 8.8 million immigrants arrive in US; 6 million processed at Ellis.  
  • 1914–18: WW I curbs immigration; enemy aliens detained at Ellis.  
  • 1920s: Federal laws set immigration quotas based on national origin. In 1924 US consulates take over inspection and processing. Ellis has deportation center, U.S. Public Health Service hospital, and later a Coast Guard facility.  
  • 1939–45: World War II. German, Italian, and Japanese aliens interned at Ellis.  
  • 1954: Ellis Island immigration station closed permanently.  
  • 1965: National origin quotas abolished. Ellis Island becomes part of Statue of Liberty National Monument.  
  • 1990: Restored Main Building opens as an immigration museum. 

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The People and the Artifacts of Ellis Island

A photograph and three artifacts are described. The caption applies to the photo and artifacts and reads: “Newly arrived immigrants, early 1900s; Worker's identification; immigrant child's teddy bear, inspector's cap. 

  1. Photo description: Across the top portion of side two is a black and white historic photograph of immigrants on Ellis Island. In a row across the entire foreground are eight immigrants, all of whom are Caucasian women and children. Depending on their height they are pictured either from slightly above or below the waist. Other immigrants are partially visible behind them. They all have serious facial expressions. Starting from the left, each of the eight immigrants in the front row is described in more detail. The first figure on the left is a little blond boy, about four years old, who squints into the sun. Next to him is a young girl, about seven years old, who wears a cotton long sleeved dress with lace trim and puffed shoulders. Next to her is a much taller young woman wearing a head scarf, cotton long sleeved petticoat, and light skirt. She holds a small parcel in her left hand. Next to her, a young girl wears a light-colored fringed headscarf and dark long-sleeved woolen jacket. Beside and slightly in front of her is a little girl, about five years old, who wears a head scarf and striped sailor collar. The little girl shields her eyes from the sun with her left hand. Standing next to and slightly behind the little girl is an older girl with a white headscarf and long-sleeved double-breasted jacket with velvet trim on the collar and cuffs. The next person is a middle-aged woman with a dark head scarf and long sleeve medium colored jacket with rick rack ribbon design on the front who squints into the sun. The last figure on the right is a young woman who wears a light head scarf and dark colored pleated blouse with a line of buttons down the center. These individuals are in the front line of a group of immigrants standing on the steps in front of the Main Immigration Building. Photo credit: National Archives
  2. Artifact one description. At the right of the brochure underneath the last person in the front row of the black and white historic photograph are three artifacts clustered together. The first artifact on the left is a child’s teddy bear, 12 inches in height, seated with its legs and exposed feet facing toward us. The bear has light colored tan fur and is wearing coveralls. The coveralls are light gray with dark gray vertical stripes. The coveralls have a bright red collar, bright red cuffs at the bottom of each sleeve and a bright red, narrow belt at its waist. The bear’s eyes surface color has been worn away. Its nose is made of brown thread and it has also been partially worn away.
  3. Artifact two description. In the middle of the grouping of artifacts is a rectangular beige identification card. At the top center is the date “1917.” Below the date is the title "United States Immigration Service, Ellis Island, NY." The card is a form with typed information requiring the person’s name who, in this case, is Miss Cecilia Greenstone. Underneath this information is the word “Representing”, which is filled in with the words “Hebrew Sheltering and Immigrant Aid Society.” Underneath this are the words “Until December 31, 1917 unless revoked.” Underneath this is the abbreviation for the word “number” followed by “98519/16” and then the signature of the commissioner.
  4. Artifact three description: At the right of the grouping is a dark navy blue wool cap presented at an angle with a leather brim and braided hatband. One brass button is visible on the left end of the hatband. An embroidered insignia depicting the American eagle with a shield is located on the front center of the cap along with the letters "U.S. I.S." above the eagle and the word "Inspector" below the eagle.

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Your Visit to Ellis Island

The bottom left side of the brochure presents text and a map to help you with your visit. The text follows. The map and two photos of the registry room--one historical, one contemporary, are described under their own sections.

To make the most of your visit, consult the Main Building maps and the time chart.

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, located in the Main Building, has exhibits, theaters, gift shop, cafe, and visitor facilities. Check at the Information Desk for guided tours, programs, and the documentary film schedule. 

The museum has three floors of exhibits documenting immigrants’ experiences at Ellis Island, as well as the general history of immigration to the United States. Audio tours, available in several languages, offer a range of ways to explore the Ellis Island exhibits. 

The rest of Ellis Island’s buildings—the 1930s Ferry Building, hospital, morgue, contagious disease wards, offices, housing, and maintenance facilities—can be viewed only on a guided tour. You must schedule tours in advance. For information about the Hard Hat Tour and park partner Save Ellis Island, please visit

Fort Gibson, on Ellis Island 1811–1860s, was near today’s Wall of Honor. Its foundation was uncovered during work on the Wall and is left visible. For more about Ellis Island’s military history, visit “Ellis Island Chronicles” exhibit on the museum’s third floor. 

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation built the American Immigrant Wall of Honor to commemorate all immigrants to America. Through donations, people can have a name added to the wall. Note: This is not a comprehensive list of the 12 million immigrants who passed through Ellis Island. The Wall is in the back of the Main Building.

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Photos: Registry Room 1912 and Today

At the far left middle section of side two are two photos--a historical photo above a contemporary one. The caption for both reads: “Registry Room (Great Hall), circa 1912 and today.” The description of each follows.

  1. Black and white historical photo description: This photograph was taken from the east end of the Registry Room facing west. The room has a light-colored barrel ceiling that is over 50 feet from the floor to the peak of the ceiling of this room. A balcony with white railings circles the room halfway between the ceiling and floor. On the far wall, a large arched window is located near the ceiling in the center of the wall and fills the top third of the space. Light filters through this window. Below the window, a 48-star American flag is suspended from the balcony railing. On the left and right walls near the ceilings are larger arched windows, two on each side. Light streams from the windows on the south side. The floor of the room is filled with long wooden benches arranged east to west. All benches are occupied with rows of men, women, and children waiting to be processed by immigration inspectors at desks on the west side of the room. The room is crowded with people. Three or four people observe the crowds from the balcony above the main floor. The balcony running around the room is supported by columns. 
  2. Contemporary photo description: This photograph was taken after the Main Immigration Building reopened as a museum in 1990. From a similar position as the historical photograph. The mostly empty room has been restored so that it resembles the image of the room in 1912, but there are now rectangular tan tiles on the barrel ceiling and a red terracotta tile floor. A balcony with white railings still circles the room and the large arched windows still convey natural light into the room. Instead of one American flag hanging beneath the central window, there are now two American flags with 48 stars each mounted to the bottom of the railings on the left and right side of the room halfway between the east and west sides of the room. They are mounted at a 45-degree angle, across from each other. The room is no longer filled with benches crowded with immigrants. Instead, the room is empty with the exception of a small number of tourists scattered in groups walking into the Registry Room and on the balcony. They are dwarfed by the size of the room. 

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Map: Ellis Island

This is a bird's eye view and illustrated plan of Ellis Island. The map is oriented with North at the top. It shows the entire 27.5-acre island and all buildings and significant areas of interest. The island is surrounded by water with one boat docked and arrows pointing to reference the direction to Manhattan (northeast), New Jersey (northwest) and Liberty Island (southwest). The island is shaped like two squares, side by side, divided by a strip of water more than 40 yards wide. The sides of the squares that face New Jersey, northwest, are topped by an additional narrow rectangle that closes the strip of water making it a U-shaped protected slip for the Ferries to dock in. Public Ferries dock on the Manhattan, northeast, side of the slip to discharge visitors in front of the main entrance to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum. The buildings on the southwest side of the slip, are shown as two-dimensional, white rectangles, indicating that they are not open to the general public. The Museum and buildings on the other side, the Manhattan side, are shown in three-dimensional outlines with red-tan sidewalls indicating they are open to the public. Facing the museum entrance, the American Immigrant Wall of Honor and Fort Gibson archaeological remains are located on the right far corner of the island.

To the right of this map, are maps of the three floors of the museum. Each floor has descriptions of the exhibits. The floors are listed top to bottom, from the third floor to the first floor. The text and descriptions are presented under their own sections.

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Ellis Island Immigration Museum Floor Plans and Exhibits

The bottom right section of side two of the brochure provides information about the Ellis Island Immigration Museum’s three floors. It includes three floor plan maps and summary text of the focus of each floor’s exhibits. Starting at the top is the third-floor map and text, underneath of which is the second-floor map and text, followed by the first-floor map and text. All maps are oriented with Manhattan at the top and the Museum Entrance at the bottom. They are presented under their own sections.

Each floor plan map is two dimensional, is viewed from above and floating in isolation. With some exceptions, the floors are shaped similarly to the island itself with two rectangular spaces on each end, connected by a narrower rectangle in the middle that is wider than it is long in comparison to the rectangles on each end, somewhat similar to the capital letter “H.” Public space is indicated in white, private space is light gray. The building outline, room dividers, and stairs are indicated in brown. The lettering labeling each area in the space is black. The text indicating the location of exhibits is white and within rectangular brown backgrounds.

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Third Floor

  • The Bob Hope Memorial Library has historical research materials on Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Hope immigrated through Ellis Island in 1908.  
  • A restored Dormitory Room shows accommodations for detainees, ca. 1908. 
  • Changing Exhibits gallery offers temporary exhibits related to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  
  • Restoring a Landmark describes restoration projects led by the Statue of Liberty- Ellis Island Foundation and the National Park Service.  
  • Silent Voices explores the aftermath of the 1954 closing and abandonment of the immigration station.  
  • Treasures From Home displays over 2,000 possessions that immigrants brought from their homelands. Most were donated by immigrants or their families.  
  • Ellis Island Chronicles traces the history and expansion of the island from when the federal government took over in 1808 (3.3 acres) to today’s 27.5 acres. 

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Third Floor Map Description

Farthest left, or west on this floor is the Bob Hope Memorial Library. Outside the library entrance are restrooms, a baby changing station in the women's restroom, and the west elevator.

Moving east through the corridor, you come to the balcony that wraps around the perimeter of the room. Each end of the balcony is 25 feet deep by 70 feet wide with connecting four feet wide walkways on each side. The center is open to the Registry Room below. A third of the way east along the north side of the balcony is the Dormitory Room Exhibit. This is the only public space on this side.

Proceeding east along the south side of the balcony is the Changing Exhibit Gallery area on the right or south side. The entrance is at the furthest point east and to the right off the balcony. The east section of the balcony has exits at the north and south ends. Each balcony exit leads to a connecting U-shaped corridor that passes through the center of the east wing of the building. On the inside of the U is a private conference room and an open atrium to the second floor.

On the outside of the U, exhibits in clockwise order starting on the north side are Restoring a Landmark, Silent Voices, Treasures From Home, and Ellis Island Chronicles. Across from the entrance to Ellis Island Chronicles exhibit is the east elevator.

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Second Floor

  • Through America’s Gate follows the immigration process: initial questioning in the Registry Room, medical inspections, and for some, temporary detention. About 20 percent were held for additional medical or legal examinations. Detained immigrants could plead their case to the Board of Special Inquiry in the Hearing Room; most were allowed through.  
  • In the Registry Room, or Great Hall, immigrants underwent medical and legal examinations. Following inspection they walked down the “Stairs of Separation.” Most boarded New York- or New Jersey-bound ferries. Some awaited further examinations, which could lead to detention or exclusion. At the bottom of the stairs, many immigrants met family members or friends at the “Kissing Post.” Be sure to look up at the magnificent Guastavino tiled ceiling, installed by 1918.  
  • Peak Immigration Years explores the massive immigration wave of 1880–1924: why people left their homelands and how they adapted to new lives in the United States. The exhibit also documents how changing attitudes toward immigration led to new laws and processing procedures. 

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Second Floor Map Description

The left side or west section of the second floor has U-shaped corridor in its middle. The corridor begins on the southwest corner of the Registry Room and returns on the northwest corner of the Registry Room, which is the center section of the entire second floor. The exhibit in the left section of this floor is Through America's Gate. It occupies a series of individual rooms that parallel the outside perimeter of this corridor. The majority of space to the inside of the corridor is not open to the public. At the far bottom left corner is another exhibit titled Hearing Room. On the left side of this floor are restrooms, a baby changing station in the women's restroom, and the south-side west elevator. Toward the Registry Room is the free-standing History Channel video.

The east (or right) section of the building also has a U-shaped corridor through the center. Within the center of the U is Theater 2. The entrance is on the south side, Restrooms are on the right, across from the east elevator on this side of the floor.

The “Peak Immigration Years” exhibit starts in the southeast corner, continuing counterclockwise through connected rooms that parallel the outside perimeter of this corridor.

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First Floor

  • Journeys: New Eras of Immigration, 1945–Present continues the immigration story beyond the Ellis Island years to the present day. Scheduled to open in 2013.  
  • American Family Immigration History Center, operated by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, has a database of immigrant ships’ manifests from the Port of New York 1892–1924. Search here (fee) or visit  
  • You enter through the same doors as the immigrants into the Baggage Room. They would have left belongings here before continuing with the examination process. Today there’s an Information Desk, audio tour pickup, bookstore, and exhibit about the room’s original use.  
  • Journeys: The Peopling of America 1550–1890 begins in the former railroad ticket office behind the Baggage Room. It tells the story of immigration to America before the US government opened Ellis Island. 

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First Floor Map Description

The main museum entrance is on the south or ferry side of the floor. This level has an additional L-shaped building on the west side and is where the Journeys: New Eras of Immigration, 1945 - Present exhibit is located. It is connected to the Main Immigration Building by a narrow corridor.

Upon entering the building is the center Baggage Room exhibit. Also in this area and immediately on the right upon entering is the Audio Tour Desk. Further away on the right, are the stairs to the Registry Room on the second floor. Immediately on the left, is the bookstore and further on the left is the information desk. Way in the back is the entrance to the exhibit “Journeys: The Peopling of America 1550-1890.”

The right rectangle of the building has a U-shaped hallway that takes you from and to the Baggage Room area. In this area is Theater One, the Ellis Island Cafe, the Gift Shop, and restrooms. The east elevator is on the right just before reentering the Baggage Room.

Returning back to and through the Baggage Room area on the left side and corridor of this floor, a pair of hallways split around a set of stairs. The American Family Immigration History Center, restrooms, and the west elevator are in this area. 

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How Much Time Do You Have?

One Hour or Less: Choose one of the following: 

  1. Take main audio tour (30–45 minutes). 
  2. Visit Registry Room (Great Hall) and second-floor exhibits. 
  3. Take a National Park Service Ranger-guided tour (45 minutes). 

Two to Four Hours: All activities above, plus one of the following: 

  1. Take secondary level audio tour (30–60 minutes). 
  2. See the documentary film “Island of Hope, Island of Tears” (45 minutes). 
  3. See exhibits on first and third floors (1–2 hours). 

All Day: All activities above, plus: 

  1. Take the audio tour “Journeys: The Peopling of America 1550–1890.” 
  2. Take the audio tour “Journeys: New Eras of Immigration, 1945–Present.” 

Other Activities

  1. Look up ancestors in the American Family Immigration History Center (fee).
  2.  Visit the American Immigrant Wall of Honor. 
  3. Visit Fort Gibson.

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