Summer Exhibit at the Tenement Museum!

Immigrants Mean Business: An Enduring History of Entrepreneurship

June 8 thru Sept 8 | Saturdays & Sundays

Visit Tenement Museum on weekends this summer to experience a special pop-up exhibit featuring contemporary photo portraits of immigrant business owners by photographer Tesfa Alexander, paired with historic photos of immigrant-owned businesses from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s.

Immigrants Mean Business: An Enduring History of Entrepreneurship on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 AM – 6:30 PM, at the Tenement Museum, 103 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002

Enter via the Museum Shop and Visitor Center. Exhibit on 2nd floor. Free and open to the public.


Few things shape New York City’s identity as decisively as migration and immigration. For well over a century, foreign-born New Yorkers have left a deep imprint on our city’s culture and economy, from the red-checkered tablecloths of Italian restaurants to the beloved German delicatessen to the corner stores we call by their Spanish name – bodegas. Today, 38 percent of New Yorkers have immigrated here from other countries. Together, they make up 46% of the City’s workforce, and 83,000 own their own businesses.

In celebration of the ongoing tradition of immigrant entrepreneurship, the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) is partnering with the Tenement Museum to present Immigrants Mean Business: An Enduring History of Entrepreneurship. Linking present and past, this pop-up exhibit features contemporary photo portraits of immigrant business owners by photographer Tesfa Alexander, paired with historic photos of immigrant-owned businesses from the late nineteenth century to the 1970s. Displayed on large-scale banners, the photos are complemented by objects from the Tenement Museum’s collection related to commercial and business life. Representing all five boroughs and a wide range of industries from hospitality to fashion to security, the exhibit conveys the enduring pride, energy, and vision of New York City’s immigrant business owners.


Immigrants Mean Business: An Enduring History of Entrepreneurship is presented by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

As part of an ongoing commitment to serving the City’s entrepreneurs, the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) offers free-of-charge services and resources to entrepreneurs in immigrant communities throughout the city in multiple languages, including culturally-sensitive business courses, financing assistance, pro-bono legal aid, and more.

The Tenement Museum tells the uniquely American stories of immigrants, migrants, and refugees in the ongoing creation of our nation. Through tours, interactive media, student programs, public programs, and pop-up exhibits, the Museum seeks to build a society that embraces and values the role of immigrants in the evolving American identity.