Experiencing New Jersey’s History at Ellis Island

Since it opened two years ago, I’ve been wanting to visit the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital, which is located on the New Jersey side (Jersey City specifically). If you’re looking for a unique excursion featuring American history, the tour of the immigrant hospital is something you will never forget.

From 1892 to 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered USA through Ellis Island. Approximately one immigrant out of 10 who arrived at Ellis Island received medical attention at this facility.

Save Ellis Island, Inc., the non-profit raising the funds to rehabilitate and stabilize all of the south side buildings, opened the Hospital Complex in the Summer of 2015. It was previously closed to the public for 60 years.

As someone whose grandparents came to Ellis Island from Europe, I have always wanted to visit this National Park. By walking around the hospital complex, I really got a feeling of how difficult it really was coming to America during that time.

In order to take the tour of the hospital complex, you need to sign up for the 90-minute guided Hard Hat Tours.

We traveled through the hospital with a very knowledgeable guide, going into different buildings including the laundry room:

and the morgue:

As part of the tour, an art exhibit, “Unframed – Ellis Island,” by renowned artist JR is on display throughout the tour route in different rooms.

The exhibit features archival photographs of Ellis Island immigrants reproduced larger than life size, installed on walls, windows, floors and building exteriors.

The art work is haunting and beautiful. In addition to art work dedicated to the immigrants, you can see images of the doctors and staff as well.

It’s truly something you need to see in person.

With a purchased ticket, the proceeds from the sales go toward the continuing preservation and restoration of the complex so they can continue to open more of the buildings. I highly suggest purchasing tickets in advance! Tickets for the Hard Hat tours are available for purchase through their website or the National Park Service’s ferry concession, Statue Cruises.

Ellis island is an important part of American History as well as New Jersey history. If you are history buff or someone who wants to know more about how immigration formed this country, I highly suggest visiting.

About Save Ellis Island, Inc.
Save Ellis Island, Inc., a registered 501©3 organization, is the National Park Service, U.S. Department of Interior’s partner for the rehabilitation of the 29 unrestored buildings on Ellis Island. Save Ellis Island’s mission is to raise the funds to restore the deteriorated, unused portion of Ellis Island and return it to use for public education and enjoyment. Save Ellis Island is committed to preserving this national treasure dedicated to America’s immigrant story – the place where 12 million immigrants first stepped foot on American soil.

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