Press Releases

Tenement Museum Launches New Resources for Studying Im/migration in Schools

November 6, 2019


10/24/2019, New York, NY- The Tenement Museum today launched a new curriculum for the study of immigration and migration in 4th and 5th grade classrooms.

The new resources center on the stories of real people who lived in the Tenement Museum’s famous historic tenements from the 1860s to the 1980s in the Lower East Side of New York City, and are designed as lessons and activities to support educators in building empathy, connecting past to present, and humanizing immigration experiences, all while strengthening upper elementary students’ historical thinking skills.

This resource has been designed to be used as a whole, or for educators to select lessons and resources for specific topics, themes, and time periods.

The Museum’s new curriculum adds to its existing roster of classroom resources for teacher, which are currently available for students in lower elementary to high school classes.

These new resources were developed as part of the Museum’s latest strategic plan, which launched in April 2018. The curriculum serves a key goal in the plan to reach people, young and old, beyond the Museum’s walls, with the intention to impact the current immigration narrative– within today’s fraught immigration debate– from one of fear to one of respect and admiration. Another one of the key goals of the resources is tell a wide variety of stories of people while reflecting of the diversity of New York City school children, something that was largely missing from immigration curriculums that are currently used.

“We prioritized creating resources for Upper Elementary school teachers because we know they don’t often find high quality resources to make immigration and migration relevant to their students today, said Kathryn Lloyd, Tenement Museum Director of Programs. “We know that changing the narrative about immigration starts with young people, and these resources use real family stories to help students see their own power and their importance in American history.

In the resource set, educators will find:

  • 13 lessons about real families who lived in 97 and 103 Orchard Street on the Lower East Side, covering immigration, migration, and asylum seekers from the 1870s-1980s.
  • Primary sources with accompanying activity suggestions for Upper Elementary students.
  • Non-fiction texts about the Tenement Museum families, with accompanying comprehension questions and writing activities.
  • Video stories featuring the Tenement Museum’s costumed interpreters, bringing history to life in the recreated apartments of 97 Orchard Street.

Explore the full curriculum here.

About the Tenement Museum

At a time when immigration is at the center of our national conversation, the Tenement Museum is more relevant than ever. Since 1988, the Museum has forged emotional connections between visitors and immigrants past and present, through educator-led tours of its historic tenement buildings at 97 and 103 Orchard and the surrounding neighborhood, enhancing appreciation for the vital role immigrants play in shaping the American identity. The Museum has become one of New York City’s preeminent cultural and educational institutions, welcoming more than 238,000 visitors, including 55,000 students, each year. The Museum now aims to use every medium at its disposal to dramatically increase the impact of its programming—reaching millions not thousands– with its message of how immigrants built and continue to build America.