Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New York Museum of the Week : LES Tenement Museum

New York City is known for its fine major museums, but many people don't realize how many small ones we have. I'll try to give people a highlight of what this fine city has to offer.

New York is home to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the only museum in the world that explores what tenement life was like a century ago. Most people in the US had relatives who at some point lived in a tenement, very often under horrendous conditions. The building for this museum was an actual tenement that was sealed and abandoned in the late 1930s and not reopened until a little over 10 years ago. The curators searched for and found city records listing the various tenants during the period that the tenement was in use, and built the museum around the life stories of some of them. what I like is how multicultural this museum is, and how the curators and docents relate the past to what is happening to the poor living in tenements now. If you visit New York and go to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, you might want to complete your heritage trip by going to this museum, and then eating at the wonderful Katz's Delicatessen that is located nearby.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a really interesting place. Somehow it's often the small museums, that focus on doing one thing (really well) that can really explain what things were like. If I ever go to NY again I'll have to check it out.