Tenement Museum

103 Orchard St, New York City

(4 939)

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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  • Amanda Martin

    - 25 January 2018 -

    Such an inspiring and humbling experience. Brilliantly restored building made into an impactful museum and tour. Knowledgeable tour guides and well researched material make this a must see especially if you love history or culture or even America. Moving

  • Steven Delgado

    - 18 January 2018 -

    I'm absolutely love this museum. They give you a in depth tour of tenements of the early days and and history lessons on how the demographics changed through out the years. They have several different tours to go on with different themes and decades. Overall a pretty cool experience would recommend to any history buff as well as anyone looking for a different date idea. They have one tour that you get beer on as well haven't tried it but I will next time I go.

  • Baby Irene

    - 18 December 2017 -

    Having taken the inside tour of this museum a few years ago, which was awesome, I was excited to try the walking tour. Sadly, “exciting” isn’t the adjective I can use to describe it. The guide was one of those people who make you, the customer, do all the work. She wanted to know our thoughts, and feelings, and explanations, and experiences… we ended up spending 20 minutes in front of each building this way, learning almost nothing. I didn’t pay $25 US to hear some guy from wherever guess what “landmark” means. Besides, we could barely even hear her, and she was miked—so even if the other people in the group were fascinating, I couldn’t hear them. After two buildings, the guide ditched the interesting part of Orchard St. and Delancey and went off on a half-hour jag about boring buildings blocks away built in the 1960s. After over an hour of the two-hour tour, having seen THREE buildings, one of which wasn’t even part of the fascinating network of streets and tenements right by the museum, I’d had enough. Perhaps I just had a poor guide that day, but judging from the reviews this is how they do it. I agree with the reviewer who suggests walking around the neighborhood on your own instead, enjoying the bagels and atmosphere. This tour was not worth it, and somehow managed to do the impossible—make the Lower East Side seem boring.

  • Sheryl Yvette

    - 11 December 2017 -

    I've attended 2 of their tours so far. The tenement apartments are beautiful and the stories are fascinating. Note that NO photos are allowed. Tours are limited in size due to the size of the apartments. It's best to buy a ticket online ahead of time so you get the tour and time that you want. The gift shop has wonderful NYC related items. And there is a bathroom and lockers (to hold your bags while on tour) downstairs from the gift shop. Highly recommended for tourists and especially locals.

  • Katherine Long

    - 09 December 2017 -

    My friends and family have heard nothing but my rave reviews for the last week. An excellently curated museum experience, the tenement museum should be included in any tour of New York/Ellis Island. The immigrant experience in turn of the century New York is beautifully & lovingly represented-- truly feels present in the rooms of the tenement museum. Here there is sorrow, hope and fortitude in the people that built America as we know it. Read into the individual tours and go to the one that resonates with you! We went to "sweat shop workers," which centered on two real Jewish families who lived at 97 orchard and worked in the evolving garment industry.

  • David Feiger

    - 25 September 2017 -

    I felt like I was in a middle school class. We walked around room to room in an old apartment and had a conversation about "how we would feel" living there. Then we each took on the persona of a person living in the apartment and pretended to be those people. I don't get the whole appeal. I have to say, the guides are great though. It's the material that's in question.

  • Todd Hooper

    - 22 September 2017 -

    It's well worth taking one of the guided tours here. You'll get a real slice of New York history. Also, the guides are very knowledgable and friendly. The guide for my tour spent a few minutes talking with me about history after the tour, and she seemed really enthusiastic to talk. I'll definitely take another tour here the next time I'm in town.

  • Leo

    - 13 September 2017 -

    The tour was fairly well designed without requiring us to stumble over other groups in the fairly small space. They chose a good size for each group as well, but it can feel cramped in a few of the rooms. Might not be good if you are claustrophobic. Also apparently the tour guides aren't aloud to accept tips... don't try. Most annoyingly I booked way in advance but couldn't adjust our tour time. Choose carefully! They won't answer the number on your confirmation email.

  • Tori Quan

    - 28 July 2017 -

    This museum is built around actual restored tenements with record of the families that lived there. As a result, you are immersed into the lives of early immigrants as they try to leave their mark on American soil and earn a living for their families. My AP US History teacher assigned us to go here for extra credit, and it was a great experience. The tour guides we're eager, interactive, and knowledgeable. At the time, they said they were in the progress of restoring or recreating even more tenements, which I cannot wait to see. The museum gift shop also sells some cute and cultural items that represent the diversity immigrants of the tenements have brought to this country.

  • kimberly sarcinello

    - 25 July 2017 -

    Outstanding experience from start to finish. We took the "Hard Times" tour. Interesting, very educational and informative. Our educator Scott was excellent, interacting with the group and answering any questions we had. The tour gives a great sense of the hardships immigrants endured. The tour was approximately 90 minutes and included tours of each room of two family's apartments. The apartments and tour area are NOT air conditioned, so going on a very hot day is not a good idea. The weather was dry and in the 70's so it was a perfect day for the tour. Everything is NO TOUCHING or leaning. No gum or food allowed, only bottled water is acceptable. There are a few chairs in some of the rooms, but visitors are welcomed (and encouraged) to sit on the floor, since you spend about 15 minutes in each room. Before or after your tour, there is a multi-roomed gift shop and an informative film that runs on a loop. A variety of tours are offered, including walking tours. Restrooms are available as well as lockers to store large bags or coats.

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Tenement Museum tours

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.

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...

Private Full Day New York Bonanza Tour by Foot and Subway

Walking shoes? Check. Cameras? Check. Private New Yorker Guide? Check. Adventure? Check. Fasten your seat belts, here we go! We will have a New Yorker guide pick you up at your hotel and traveling on foot and by subway, get ready to hit the big and brash New York - starting with Times Square -...

Private New York City Lower East Side Food Tour

Discover the edible delights in New York City's Lower East Side on this private, 3-hour, walking food tour. Come explore the neighborhood where struggling immigrant groups settled right off the boat. Find historic synagogues next to mom-and-pop shops, and tenement apartments amongst luxury, high-rise...

Private Lower East Side Walking Tour

Meet your guide for a private 2.5-hour tour of the Lower East Side, the neighborhood many new immigrants called home in New York City as they arrived in America. See the old tenement buildings and hear immigrant stories of survival. Learn historical facts and stories to help you understand the...

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