We’re beginning a long-planned construction project on 97 Orchard Street, preserving it for the next generation of visitors. Read more about what this project entails, what it means for museum visitors, and how you can become involved!
Preserving 97 Orchard Street
What are we doing?
97 Orchard Street wasn’t built to be a museum, and as our founders began collecting and sharing family stories, they also began important preservation work to make the building accessible to visitors. This has been an ongoing process, especially as our homes, hallways, and staircases have welcomed well over a million visitors over the last 30 years! This preservation project will open up the 5th floor of the building and launch a new permanent exhibit that shares the story of Joseph and Rachel Moore, a Black family who lived in a Lower Manhattan tenement in the 1860s. This project will also ensure that we can continue to welcome new generations of visitors to our beloved tenement to build learning, connection, and empathy through the stories of our tenement families.
In the coming months, while 97 Orchard Street is under construction, we are temporarily moving our recreated apartment exhibits to new locations both on and off the Museum campus so we can continue to honor and share the stories of our tenement families, their challenges and triumphs with our visitors.
Where are they moving?
We are temporarily moving the apartment exhibits of the Baldizzi, Levine, Moore, and Gumpertz families to our tenement at 103 Orchard Street, while the Rogarshevsky and Confino families will be temporarily housed in an apartment exhibit at the historic Educational Alliance’s Manny Cantor Center, a vital Lower East Side institution for more than 100 years. Of note, both of these buildings would have played a central role in the lives of residents at 97 Orchard Street. Our 103 Orchard Street historic landmark building housed friends and neighbors who would have walked the same streets, shopped at the same markets, and attended the same schools. The Educational Alliance, a local settlement, was a place where residents of both 97 and 103 Orchard Street learned English, took sewing and art classes, and more.
We have painstakingly recreated our new “sublet” apartment exhibits to match the apartments of our tenement residents. We’ve installed walls, cleaned up 100-year-old linoleum, sourced all the right wallpaper patterns, and are packing up and moving their belongings to represent the tenement apartments where our residents navigated new chapters of their lives.
We’re excited to welcome you to these new exhibits! Our sublets are not only enabling us to continue to share the stories of our tenement families, but also are providing new opportunities to compare and contrast their stories and explore our wider Lower East Side neighborhood. Tenement residents have always lived a lot of their lives outside their apartments. Our updated tours will take you onto the same streets that our families walked, to explore how the neighborhood served as a community and home over the centuries. We explore how our families interacted with neighbors, new businesses, community organizations, architectural changes, and more. Temporarily stepping outside of 97 Orchard Street, will enable us to explore new connections between our families, and the Lower East Side, enriching the stories of our residents and of New York City.
Check out this behind-the-scenes look of our curatorial and facilities teams recreating the Baldizzi’s sublet at 103 Orchard Street. Then, watch this short video of Rosaria and Adolpho Baldizzi moving in!
Stay tuned for more updates on our preservation project in the coming weeks.
How can you become involved?
Come visit our new sublets and experience the history of our tenement families and our neighborhood in new ways!
- Follow the progress of our 97 Orchard Street renovation and our new Joseph and Rachel Moore apartment exhibit by signing up for our newsletter, following us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and subscribing to our YouTube channel!
- Make a gift today and help ensure that generations to come will continue to build knowledge, connection, and empathy through our tenement stories!
Explore the Apartment Exhibits
The preservation of our historic landmark tenement at 97 Orchard Street is being made possible by Acton Family Giving, American Express, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, The Felicia Fund, the Preservation League of NYS, Samuel Freeman Charitable Trust, the Zegar Family Foundation, and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of the Office of the Governor and the New York State Legislature.
Our new Joseph and Rachel Moore exhibit is being made possible by the City of New York, The Hearst Foundations, the Mellon Foundation, the Zegar Family Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.
Make a gift today and help ensure that generations to come will continue to build knowledge, connection, and empathy through our tenement stories!