Lower East Side Tenement Museum
Program: Access to Arts
Area of Work: Arts
Grant Purpose: Shared Journeys
The Tenement Museum preserves and interprets immigration/migration history through the personal experiences of the generations of newcomers who built lives on the Lower East Side, New York City’s iconic immigrant neighborhood. Founded in 1988, the Museum occupies two historic tenements on Orchard Street, which were home to an estimated 15,000 people from more than 20 nations between 1863 and 2000. The Museum uses their stories to forge emotional connections between visitors and immigrants/migrants, past and present, and promote a deeper understanding of the enduring challenges faced by newcomers.
Purpose: To support the Shared Journeys program.
Shared Journeys offers free educational workshops that help youth and adult English as a Second Language (ESL) students practice conversational English. Workshops include a tour of a tenement apartment and a discussion about immigrant experiences in the past and present. For example, in the Making a Living workshop, students visit the restored 1897 tenement apartment of the Levine family, who operated a garment shop in their parlor. After the tour, students share their own stories about finding employment, managing long hours at work, and balancing family and job responsibilities.
In 2019 the Museum launched three new Shared Journeys workshops, bringing the program’s total offerings to thirteen workshops and permanently increasing the program’s capacity. Each workshop focuses on one of the three families profiled in the Museum’s “Under One Roof” exhibit and public tour. The Shared Journey program served 1,767 students during the grant period.