Subject Material

Ellis Island

Published: 23.09.2009, Updated: 03.03.2017

From 1892-1954, Ellis Island was the port of entry for millions of European immigrants.

Elis Island. Photo.Ellis Island with Manhattan in the background, Ellis Island is situated in New York Harbor and was the gateway through which more than 12 million immigrants passed in the years between 1892 and 1954. The peak year on Ellis Island was 1907, when 1.5 million people were admitted.

At Ellis Island the immigrants had to undergo medical and legal examinations. Some of them were even given new names, e.g. Petrovich and Ptakershek became Peterson or Packer. About 2 percent did not pass the inspections and were returned to their country of origin. This meant that over 250,000 people had their hopes and dreams ruined.

Ellis Island was turned into a museum in 1990.



Tasks and Activities

Interactive Tour of Ellis Island

Take this interactive tour of Ellis Island. Make sure you listen to the immigrants' stories and watch the vidoes and the pictures. Choose a picture and write or record your immigrant story.


Listen to a Park Ranger on Ellis Island

Listen to this interview with Douglas, who works as a Park Ranger on Ellis Island. Ellis Island Belongs to Everybody.



The American Dream

Fascinating archival footage tells the moving story of families with dreams of new opportunities, leaving their homes with what they could carry. Watch at least five minutes of the video and write down your impressions.

Read more about the immigration to the USA: Immigration and Population