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VIDEO: Learning at the Tenement


Through interactive tours of the tenement buildings and Lower East Side neighborhood, students investigate universal themes of cultural identity, discrimination, and human rights. All school programs support New York State Learning Standards, Common Core Learning Standards, and facilitate New Jersey Core Proficiencies for basic social studies skills, attitudes, and knowledge.



Living history programs use costumed interpreters to bring past residents of 97 Orchard Street to life. Students meet interpreters portraying actual residents and hear first-hand about their experiences.

Victoria Confino

How do you get started in a new place?

Play the part of a new immigrant family in 1916 searching for your first home. Get help from Victoria Confino, a 14-year-old immigrant who lives at 97 Orchard Street. Students ask Victoria questions to prepare them for their new lives in America and learn about the universal immigrant experience of starting your life over.
Grades K-12. Capacity: 15-30 persons.

Bridget Moore

How do you make a new house feel like home?

Travel back to 1868 and meet Bridget Moore in her brand new apartment at 97 Orchard Street. Students talk to Bridget about how she stays connected to her Irish heritage while she creates a home for her family in a mostly German building, and draw connections between the Moore family and immigrant families today.
Grades K-6. Capacity: 15-30 persons.

Tenement Inspectors

How do you know if a home is safe?

Take on the role of housing inspectors in 1906. Interview a tenant and a landlord and investigate 97 Orchard Street to determine if the building is up to code. As students debate who is responsible for taking care of the building, they think critically about how problems are addressed and what their role is in making changes.
Grades 4-12, Capacity: 15-45 persons.


Interactive building tours tell the stories of immigrant families that lived at 97 Orchard Street. Educators use storytelling, activities, and objects to engage with history.

Hard Times

Who can you turn to for help?

See how life at 97 Orchard Street differed for a German-Jewish family in the 1870s and a Sicilian-Catholic family during the 1930s. As students explore the Gumpertz and Baldizzi apartments, they learn how families cope with hard times and who they can turn to for help.
Grades 1-12. Capacity: 15-45 persons.

Irish Outsiders

What is it like to be an outsider?

Experience the immigrant saga through the music, images, and artifacts of Irish America.. Visit the 1869 home of the Moores, Irish immigrants coping with the death of a child and explore issues of discrimination, healthcare, and survival.
Grades 7-12. Capacity: 15-30 persons.

Sweatshop Workers

How does your job affect your life?

Visit the homes of two Jewish families who lived at 97 Orchard Street during the great wave of immigration. Learn about the jobs the Levine and Rogarshevsky families found in the garment industry and how work influences a family home, cultural traditions, and social lives.
Grades 1-12. Capacity: 15-45 persons.

Shop Life

What roles do stores play in a community?

Discover the story of businesses that once operated in 97 Orchard Street, including an 1870s German saloon and family restaurant, a 1900s butcher shop, and a 1970s underwear store. Students use objects and technology to examine the important role that stores have played and continue to play within immigrant community life.
Grades 4-12. Capacity: 15-30 persons.


Neighborhood walking tours explore the Lower East Side and uncover the history and culture of the city streets. Walking tours take place outside (rain or shine) and do not enter the tenement buildings.

Taste of Tenement

How does food tell a story?

Elementary school students embark on a culinary journey. As they investigate the neighborhood restaurants and markets, they sample foods and learn about the role immigrants play within American food culture.
Grades 1-6. Capacity: 15-30 persons.

Foods of the Lower East Side

How has immigration shaped American food culture?

Students investigate the food culture of the Lower East Side. As they sample local treats representative of the neighborhood's rich history, they explore the interplay between American and immigrant food ways.
Grades 7-12. Capacity: 15-25 persons.

Outside the Home

What does it mean to be American?

Investigate communal spaces and places central to immigrant life a century ago. Sites include the towering Jarmulowsky Bank building, where immigrants deposited (and eventually lost) their life savings; the Jewish Daily Forward building, where socialists fought for worker rights; and PS 42, where generations of immigrants learned how to be "American."
Grades 5-12. Capacity: 15-25 persons.

Then and Now

Who controls a neighborhood?

Discuss how public spaces and buildings shape a community's identity. Learn how to read the history of change in a neighborhood. Stops include an Asian temple, a Depression-era park turned community garden, and a synagogue that became a church.
Grades 9-12. Capacity: 15-25 persons.


Shared Journeys

Free ESOL workshops for high school students provide a unique context for English language learning, help students place their own immigration experience within a broader historical and political framework, and promote critical engagement with civic issues.
Grades 9-12.
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