When you make the trip to the Statue of Liberty, you always end up at Ellis Island – the island that is now a museum. It’s the site of where all immigrants coming to the US by boat through NYC came through.
Every one of them went through this hall when it was in operation:
Over the years, this hall had many transformations, no different than our country has had transformations. There were pictures of what looked like cattle stalls, benches, a stage and music, and finally abandonment.
I can only imagine what the building was like when it was at the height of its use. You can almost hear all the varying languages. You can almost see all the people, jammed in together hoping beyond hope to be able to stay. You can almost smell the worry of people who came with only the shirt on their back not knowing what they would do if they did make it in.
One of the exhibits in he building tells some of the immigrants stories through the materials that came with them. It’s quite fascinating. Here’s one shot from the exhibit.
I chose this one because the copper pot is from Finland and well, Finland holds a special place in my heart.
In the building, there are other things that are marked, but I doubt most people even come close to realizing the significance. Things like this stairway:
On it’s own, you would never know that it is anything special. There’s a marker on the side at the bottom of the steps. It’s called the Stairway of Separation.
Feel the tension from that description.
In many ways, Ellis Island is still a valid analogy for the United States.