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

  • Amanda Souders

    5
    - 28 May 2018 -

    The Hard Times tour was so touching... will remember it for the rest of my life. The tour guide (Dallin?) was fantastic, and it was amazing to see what life was like more than 100 years ago and learn about REAL families who lived there.

  • Julie Brown

    5
    - 23 May 2018 -

    A must do on your visit to New York. Highly recommended. They don't allow you take photos so this is the only one I took, a sign showcasing their commitment to diversity. Apparently you can download pictures from their website instead. What a fabulous museum shop. Loved the whole experience. And suggest you check out Russ and Daughters cafe for eats before or after. Awesome.

  • Matt Hapeman

    5
    - 17 May 2018 -

    Absolutely unforgettable. Perhaps the best museum experience I've ever had. You hear about the living conditions that people faced, but to see them firsthand, to breathe the hot stuffy air, drives it home in a way I was not expecting. Everything about the experience was top notch, from the engaging and informative guide to the handouts and displays to the visitor center. Go. You won't be disappointed.

  • Chris Whitton

    5
    - 10 May 2018 -

    This is a great place to spend the day if you were to ask me. This museum contains a large variety of unique exhibits and it features very interesting background information on each piece. The building is clean and the set up is very easy to navigate and enjoy. I had lots of fun visiting this place.

  • Kate Ostler

    5
    - 23 April 2018 -

    We had a great experience! This is an interesting place and I hope I can come back and go on the other tours. Our educator Daniel was excellent and also added some thought-provoking commentary on the history and culture. Interesting and impressive!

  • Amanda Martin

    5
    - 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

    5
    - 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

    2
    - 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

    5
    - 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

    5
    - 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.

  • 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.

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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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