Saturday, November 07, 2015
A Nice Outing
We learned a lot. My impression previously was that Ellis Island was a dreadful place where immigrants were mistreated. I learned otherwise. Yes, of course the sheer numbers of individuals meant that they were managed like cattle. But not mistreated. It was the steamship companies who brought the people via steerage who abused them, causing many to become ill before landing.
The museum/park was so interesting. We like to start with the orientation film. The National Parks do a terrific job with that. Throughout the museum were black-and-white images, information plaques, and artifacts. Joe observed that the dormitory set-up reminded him of the berthing compartment on a Navy ship. One thing that I noticed was in the food area: The menu for the day was posted (including beef stew for the main meal three consecutive days!) and pieces of the china and silver services were shown. Most people were processed within a day; some were hospitalized until they were healthy enough to be admitted, and actually only two percent of the immigrants were rejected and sent back home -- at the expense of the steamship company.
We had a surprisingly tasty lunch with Abby at the cafe on the premises; we caught up with what is going on in her life and her aspirations for the future. She recommended we visit the Tenement Museum in NYC, and I'm already looking for a date to do just that!
Posted by Nancy Stevens on Saturday, November 07, 2015