Tenement Museum Collections


Foundation Finds

Assorted antique bottles

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Century-old museum artifacts require very specific environmental parameters to protect against high temperatures and humidity. We’ve been working on the basement of 97 Orchard Street – the site of our new climate-controlled collection storage unit.

While digging drainage ditches, we unearthed some mystery objects in the building’s 160-year-old foundation. Check them out!

dirt and rocks with object hidden

Fun fact! The dirt you see here is called infill and was found just a foot above the foundation. Infill is typically used during construction projects to fill in holes and gaps and would’ve been brought from elsewhere in the city to fill in the space. This means we have historical artifacts that both tell a part of 97 Orchard Street’s story and had a life somewhere else in the city.


A piece of broken ceramic in hand.

Our first find! This piece of ceramic can be dated to the 1800s by the striations along the inside.


unknown object in hand

This small glass piece was likely a hanging ornament adorning a lampshade or a piece of clothing.


assorted antique glass bottles

These glass bottles likely came from the cosmetic shops that operated in 97 Orchard Street. The red cap (left) is most likely from the 1930s and came mixed with the infill.