Things to do in New York: Visit the Tenement Museum October 11 2017

Tenement Museum


Do you ever wonder what life was like for people about 150 years ago?  What about even more recently, say WWII era?  Well, many people do. And NYC has its own museum dedicated to the people who lived in the Lower East Side during many key moments in American History.  The building, 97 Orchard Street was built in 1863 and housed more than 7000 working class immigrants from many different cultures. What challenges did these people face?  What were their goals?  What did they spend their money on?  What did they do for fun? This unique, interactive experience that is the Tenement Museum  endeavors to answer those questions and more. 

This museum was created by people who wanted to show what life was really like for people in very different circumstances. Many cultures are represented including immigrants from Europe, Asia and the Americas during different periods of time.

This tour isn’t just looking at old apartments, it also involves a walking tour with a knowledgeable tour guide who can answer most questions.  There are many kinds of tours available that can serve a variety of interests. 

As this museum is meant to challenge the traditional notion of museums, it has a few quirks.   

  • Reservations are required.
  • Tours are only permitted via guided tour.
  • Large bags, backpacks, or luggage is not permitted inside 97 Orchard Street. Lockers are provided in the Visitors Center.
  • Photography is not permitted inside the museum. While water is allowed, no food, other beverages or gum is allowed in the museum.
  • Electronic devices are required to be turned off before embarking on the tour
  • Reservations are not available until after 1 PM as the morning is reserved for school children and students.
  • Some of the rooms are not air conditioned.

According to the Tenement Museum website, there are three ways to visit, but all require reservations.

Tour the building and visit the restored apartments and businesses of past residents and merchants from different time periods.

Meet the residents (played by costumed interpreters) who lived at 97 Orchard Street.

Walk the neighborhood and discover the Lower East Side and the way immigrants helped shaped the area and its culture.

Combine a building tour with a walking tour for a comprehensive museum experience.


Tickets generally cost $25 per person, with $5 off for seniors and students and can be purchased online here.

 People who love history will enjoy this thoughtful experience. 

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