Theme: Complicating Stereotypes | Grades 9 – 12

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 examine how the family created a home during the Great Depression. They will learn about the various ways the family obtained support, from community connections to New York State’s Home Relief program and the New Deal. Ultimately leading to a discussion about where people go for support today and the rights and responsibilities of citizens and government during times of crisis.

Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Immigration Policy

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 engage 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, tell stories about her lived experiences, and share how her family keeps their Sephardic culture alive through food, language, holiday celebrations, and more.  Students will discuss cultural adaptation alongside examining immigration patterns and the economic needs of an immigrant household in 1916.  Throughout the program, students will engage Victoria with questions and 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 survived the Holocaust and entered the country as refugees. Students 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 also 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 consider how they themselves form their own senses of identity and belonging.

Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Culture and Identity, Immigration Policy

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 the push and pull factors of Chinese immigration and its relation to the Chinese Exclusion Act and subsequent immigration laws. Through exploration of a recreated apartment and garment shop, students will examine 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 consider how different generations of the family navigate language, schooling, media, and work. Students will discuss how they themselves form their own senses of identity and belonging and evaluate roles of government, schools, and other institutions to ensure openness and acceptance of many.

 Themes: Complicating Stereotypes, Industrialization and LaborCulture and Identity, Immigration Policy

Topics: Asian Immigration    

Duration: 60 minutes 

Connections to our Curriculum: 

 


Reclaiming Black Spaces

In the Tenement Museum’s newest program, Reclaiming Black Spaces, students will learn about how Black and African Americans shaped Lower Manhattan as they made homes, businesses, and communities there 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, we’ll 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 and discuss the need to reclaim historical identities and stories that have been left out of traditional narratives.

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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