What's to Do and See?
The Media Presentation: It is highly recommended to view the media presentation about the museum in its basement before taking any of the tours. This one-hour show describes the terrible living conditions that immigrants found themselves in, and includes interviews with former residents. It offers a greater understanding of what one is about to experience on the tours themselves.
Public Tours: The Lower East Side Tenement Museum can only be seen through a guided tour. Visitors need to sign up for a tour on a ‘first-come-first-served’ basis. It is advisable to avoid the museum on weekends when the tours are usually full and packed to their maximum capacity. Remember also to dress in layers as the small confined quarters of the apartments in the building may cause you to feel uncomfortable if you are over-dressed.
Piecing it Together Tour
A one hour tour, suitable for adults and children aged 8 and up. Visit the apartment of a Jewish family from Poland who set up a small garment factory in their front room and celebrate the birth of their son with them. Then visit the apartment of a Lithuanian Jewish family who is mourning the death of their father. These visits to the Levine and Rogarshevksy families illustrate the tremendous problems faced by these immigrants and their efforts to support their families using the little skills that they had. It also shows how important traditions and customs were in their lives and how their community supported them through bad times.
The Getting By Tour
This one hour tour, suitable for children ages 8 and up, takes visitors to two apartments – the Gumpertz family (German-Jewish) and the Sicilian-Catholic Baldizzi family. The tour discusses social welfare in the U.S. and compares different time periods of the tenement building to options available to citizens today.
The Confino Living History Tour
This is a hands-on tour of the Confino family – a Turkish-Jewish family of Sephardic descent. Visitors are greeted by an actress playing the role of 16-year-old Victoria Confino who describes her new life in America after the comforts of her old home. Visitors are free to touch and explore all the items in the apartment and this is the perfect tour for families with children of five years or older.
Lower East Side Walking Tour
With the collaboration of local residents of Lower East side, these walking tours take visitors to various spots that illustrate the past, present and future of the neighborhood. The tour lasts approximately an hour and a half.