Tenement Museum

103 Orchard St, New York City

4.5

The Tenement Museum was founded in 1988 by Ruth J. Abram and Anita Jacobson. It is a National Historic Site. Tenement was home to an estimated 7,000 people, from over 20 nations, between 1863 and 1935. The site received a Save America's Treasures matching grant for $250,000 in 2000 for preservation work. The museum's exhibits and programs include restored apartments and shops open daily for public tours, depicting the lives of immigrants, such as Irish and Italian Catholic and European Jewish families. The museum also provides a documentary film and offers tours with costumed interpreters for portraying the building's former residents, tastings of their communities' typical foods, and neighborhood walks. The museum's tours place the immigrants' lives in the broader context of American history. The museum also has an extensive collection of historical archives and provides a variety of educational programs. A new exhibition titled "Under One Roof" is slated to open in the fall of 2017. The exhibition will explore the lives of a Holocaust refugee family, a Puerto Rican migrant family, and a Chinese immigrant family.

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Open Hours:

  • Thu

    10:00 - 20:30

  • Mon

    10:00 - 18:30

  • Tue

    10:00 - 18:30

  • Wed

    10:00 - 18:30

  • Fri

    10:00 - 18:30

  • Sat

    10:00 - 18:30

  • Sun

    10:00 - 18:30

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Reviews

  • Anthony Privetera

    5
    - 08 August 2018 -

    Wonderful museum about early 1900s in New York City. The organization is slowly and carefully restoring each room. A unique experience that makes you feel like you have truly stepped back in time. Docents are very knowledgeable and encourage dialogue along the tours. Due to this you need to make reservations in advance. Choose a few and stay for lunch in the area. Please note that the original building does not have the modern conveniences of central air conditioning and heating. The newer one does, however. Choose tours and dress accordingly! Either way you will not be disappointed.

  • Wesley

    5
    - 30 July 2018 -

    SO interesting! I did the Hard Times Tour, and want to go back for the others. The gift shop has many unique and fun gifts celebrating NYC and immigrant culture. The actual museum is amazing- it was fascinating to see the layers of history peeled back and hearing the stories of the families who lived there is chilling while standing where they stood. Can't wait to go back!

  • F Boyer

    5
    - 29 July 2018 -

    This is truly a labor of love. The tour was educational and fascinating the time just flew by. The care and they work they put towards this project is amazing and impressive. Definitely a museum worth more than one trip as each of the tours are very different and unique. The knowledge and passion of our tour guide was evident and appreciated

  • Max Wenneker

    5
    - 29 July 2018 -

    Make sure to buy tickets in advance as the most popular tours are already sold out on the day-of. The museum is only available via tour, you cannot walk around on your own. Each tour lasts about an hour and walks you through a different part of one of the tenement buildings that belongs to the museum. Each tour also focuses on a different topic. We did the sweatshop tour and it was great. Talks through the life of a family who lived in the building. You get to see their apartment and learn their story. $25 per person.

  • Lynda Haberstock

    5
    - 26 July 2018 -

    Went on one of the several tours offered. Had a wonderful experience exploring the lives of diverse families that lived in this tenement building. Went through an apartment recreated from the past which reminded me of my grandmother and my home growing up. Interactive, historical, educational, reminiscent. Great gift shop and bookstore.

  • Nichole Mason

    4
    - 19 July 2018 -

    We went as a couple a few years ago and enjoyed it. Last weekend we took the kids on the tour for families. Because they allowed us to talk about what that time was like and then put us in one of the apartments with an actress dressed in clothes from the period the kids and adults were fully immersed. Great experience. Our actress was great but our guide was a little less than kind, hence the lower rating. She was out and out RUDE.

  • Patricia S. George

    5
    - 19 July 2018 -

    What an amazing museum! Interesting museum that gives you a look into the lives and living conditions of immigrants who lived on the lower east side during the turn of the century. Tour guide was super helpful with explaining and answering questions. Such an inspiring and humbling experience.

  • Brooke May

    5
    - 21 June 2018 -

    This was a very interesting experience for me! I've lived in New York for 14 years but had never done this one. Instead of a traditional museum, this museum has several small locations that you must see on a small, guided tour. The tour guide is very educational and answers any and all questions. There is a part at the end to explore some artifacts. Maybe a great place to take your parents when they are in town visiting.

  • Kevin Force

    5
    - 18 June 2018 -

    This is a wonderful museum and a truly special and meaningful place. While there are numerous museums which preserve the life of the upper class, the Tenement Museum preserves and interprets this history of how average people lived. This museum tells the story of the immigrant experience through several real families. Numerous tours to choose from and stories to hear. I love the interpretation of the guides at the museum- the tours are very interactive, and the guides encourage participation and thinking. Each guide adds their own flavor. You can have a different experience every time you go. As a nation of immigrants, I think everyone can find part of their own story in this museum. A truly must see. An essential landmark of global cultural significance which is critical to understanding the New York- and American- experience. Understandably busy- book a tour online ahead of time rather than just showing up, because the tours sell out quickly. Also has a well stocked gift shop.

  • Jeff Kastner

    5
    - 17 June 2018 -

    It was a fun, engaging, educational experience. The operation is very professionally run, and our tour guide was quite personable and knowledgeable about her subject matter. We took the "Then and Now" tour, a 2-hour walking tour that highlighted the evolution of the Lower East Side from the early 1900's to modern times. Highly recommended.

  • Tilman Benecke

    - 11 February 2018 -

    Interesting place for history about immigration...

  • Jayne Owens

    - 06 February 2018 -

    We did the sweatshop tour and would recommend.Our tour guide JR was a wealth of knowledge.

  • Jake Clements

    - 30 January 2018 -

    Tours are super interesting and give a vivid sense of how hard life was for residents of the tenements. Would totally recommend!

  • Valentina Vitols

    - 20 November 2017 -

    Wonderful experience at this very well-managed and curated museum. Staff was knowledgeable and kind. A must see when in NYC. Don’t miss it!

  • Andrew Casper

    - 11 October 2017 -

    This museum is absolutely amazing... so many rotating exhibits/tours/events, you're bound to find an interesting and relevant one!!!

  • Luke Mayes

    - 27 September 2017 -

    We toured “the shops.” We both felt like the tour was twice as long as it should have been; like they stretched a 45 minute story into 1.5 hours. That said, the concept behind the place is awesome.

  • Hugh Robertson

    - 07 September 2017 -

    Wonderful museum inside an old tenement building, telling the history of New York and the Lower East Side through the lives of migrant families 1865-1935. Great guides, incredible stories.

  • Mike Sherman

    - 05 September 2017 -

    If it's your first time, start with a tour that goes inside the preserved tenement building.

  • Andras Serfozo

    - 31 August 2017 -

    This is the best experience in Manhatten. Three of us got a lovely guider who show us some flats from the early 1900's, helped to discover their family life and struggle, get the immigrant lifestyle.

  • Denise H

    - 28 August 2017 -

    You need to do a tour to see inside so book in advance to get the time you want and the tour you're interested in.

Tenement Museum tours

Lower East Side Food and Culture Tour

Tacos, dumplings, bagels — America would be a food wasteland without the dishes brought here by immigrants. Join this 3-hour New York City walking tour to sample the best ethnic foods in the Lower East Side. But this experience includes much more than sampling delicious foods, as you’ll learn...

Manhattan: 3-Hour Tenements, Tastings & Tales Tour

Travel around the world as you visit a fascinating neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. You’ll hear stories of the millions of immigrants who settled here and taste delicious Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Jewish, and other immigrant dishes.

Stories from the Dark Side of New York City with NYPD Guide

Go on the beat with a retired NYPD detective or officer, and learn the shocking truth behind New York’s organized crime rings, white-collar swindlers, and modern scandals. Visit traditional hotbeds of NYC crime like Chinatown, the Lower East Side, and a more recent addition to the list of...

Harlem Gospel Wednesday Afternoon Tour

Spend an afternoon discovering Harlem on this guided, 4-hour tour. Harlem has evolved from its foundation as a Dutch farming community to the modern-day capital of Black America — from the Harlem Renaissance to the dark days of the 70s to today’s real estate boom. The tour, narrated in two...

Chinatown Food Tour and Historic Downtown Walking Tour

Discover New York’s cultural Chinatown and Historic Downtown area on this 4-hour walking food tour. In Chinatown, see the culture, both old and new — from the oldest tenement building to the hidden gems — along with various Chinese restaurants and shops. Then head to the historic downtown...

Lower East Side Eats Food Tour

On this 3-hour tour of the Lower East Side, you and a group of 4-18 people will eat your way through the streets, as you sample delicacies from New York's premier appetizing stores, ethnic eateries, and "mom and pop" restaurants. Explore what was once an immigrant and working class neighborhood...

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