Theme: Complicating Stereotypes | Grades 6 – 8

Complicating Stereotypes     Students learn about history of untrue narratives about different groups of people, understand how immigrants and migrants build structures of support to combat stereotypes, and hear human stories that foster connection.

1930s Baldizzi Family

The Baldizzi Family story features an Italian-American family and their 1935 tenement home. By exploring a ship manifest and 1924 newspaper clips, students learn about the push and pull factors of the family’s immigration and the nativistic 1924 immigration law that created obstacles for their journey to the United States. Through exploration of the recreated apartment, oral histories, historic documents, and photographs, students will understand how the family immigrated and then created a home during the Great Depression. Students will learn about the places in the neighborhood, city, and government where the Baldizzi’s could turn for help, leading them to discuss where people can go for support today.

Themes: Complicating Stereotypes

Topics: European Immigration

Duration: 60 minutes

Connections to our Curriculum:

 


1916 Meet Victoria

Meet Victoria is a costumed interpretation program. Students will be transported back in time to 1916 to learn from and interact with an actor playing Victoria Confino, an actual 14-year-old girl who immigrated to the United States through Ellis Island in 1913.  Victoria will show students her home and daily life, tells stories based on her life experiences, and share how her family keeps their culture alive through food, language, holiday celebrations, and more. Students will learn about the push and pull factors bringing immigrants to the US at the time as well as cultural adaptation to a new home.   Throughout the program, students engage with Victoria by asking her questions and making connections.

Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Culture and Identity

Topics: European Immigration

Duration: 60 minutes

Connections to our Curriculum:

 


1950’s Epstein Family

The Epstein Family story features a Jewish American family and their 1950’s tenement home. Rivka and Kalman Epstein were Holocaust survivors. Students will learn about their journey from Europe to find protection and safety in the United States and the challenges presented by restrictive immigration laws and attitudes towards newcomers. By exploring their recreated home and hearing the perspective of immigration scholars, students contemplate how and why the family revived some traditions and started new ones. Through oral histories and videos with the daughter in the family, Bella Epstein, students discover how she found support, friendship, and a sense of herself in an increasingly diverse Lower East Side neighborhood. Students will contemplate how they themselves form their own senses of identity and belonging.

Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Culture and Identity

Topics: European Immigration

Duration: 60 minutes 

Connections to our Curriculum: 

 


1970’s Wong Family   

The Wong family story features a Chinese American family and their 1970’s tenement home. With the help of immigration scholars, students learn about push and pull factors of their immigration and its relation to the Chinese Exclusion Act and subsequent immigration laws. Through exploration of a recreated apartment and garment shop, students will explore how the Wongs made a home in the neighborhood and how their experiences reflect the growth of Chinese communities and the garment industry in New York. Video interviews and family and neighborhood photographs will allow students to examine how different generations of the family navigate language, schooling, media, and work, leading students to discuss how they themselves form their own senses of identity and belonging.

 Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Industrialization and LaborCulture and Identity

Topics: Asian Immigration    

Duration: 60 minutes 

Connections to our Curriculum: 

 


Reclaiming Black Spaces

In the Tenement Museum’s newest program, Reclaiming Black Spaces, students examine how Black and African Americans shaped Lower Manhattan as they made homes, businesses, and communities here over the centuries. Facilitated discussion will allow students to consider questions like: What drew Black New Yorkers to Lower Manhattan, and how were their experiences shaped by that migration? How did those communities create a sense of home, and how did they resist the racism they faced? From the story of  Sebastiaen de Britto, one of the first Black residents of the area in the 1640s, to Studio We, a musician’s collective in the 1970s, students will look through  windows into the past that expands the history of today’s Lower East Side. Students will explore primary source documents, photographs, and music.

Themes:  Complicating Stereotypes, Culture and Identity, Movements for Change

Duration: 60 minutes 

Connections to our Curriculum: 

 

Teaching Resources

We offer teacher-designed, teacher-tested lesson plans where students learn to interpret objects, oral histories, and primary sources while making modern connections. Find unit plans, lesson plans, primary sources, and non-fiction family stories, made for flexible use in your classroom.

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