Watching and Listening
You can find a great number of oral histories and video interviews of our families on our website. Each source has an associated lesson plan with engagement activity.
As an adult, Josephine Baldizzi reflects on her childhood in a tenement apartment in the 1930’s during the Great Depression in this oral history. Hear about the way she slept, played, and helped her neighbors through the airshaft window. Use the guidance in the lesson, “Listen Closely to an Oral History”, to have students draw images from the oral history. You can provide more information about the Baldizzi family and their perseverance by reading their story.
It’s the hard work of millions of individuals that make a society run during good times and bad. Watch a video of footage from Chinatown Garment factories in the 1980’s that include an interview with Mrs. Wong who says “everyone sewed garments like their lives depended on it.” Guidance for investigating that statement and information on how workers improved their lives through community action can be found in the lesson “View 1980’s Garment Factory Footage.” You can provide more information about the Wong Family by reading their story.
In the 1860’s, 17-year old Bridget Moore left her home in Ireland during the potato famine knowing that her life would never be the same. In this video, a Tenement Museum costumed interpreter plays Bridget Moore and gives us a tour of her apartment to show us the ways she finds comfort through connection to her family and culture. Students can watch and identify all the ways Bridget keeps her homeland alive. You can provide more information about the Moore family by reading their story.