Never miss out on a Tenement Museum event! Watch our educational virtual programming and past Tenement Talks here or on our YouTube channel, and subscribe to our newsletter to hear first about any upcoming virtual events happening at the Tenement Museum.
Our gala celebration this year was the premiere of our new gala film, Taste of the Tenement! A special “Tenement take” on Taste the Nation with Padma Lakshmi, we explore the rich history of our vibrant Lower East Side neighborhood through the common thread that brings us all together: food.
Virtual Tenement Concerts
Livestreamed from inside our recreated historic tenement apartments, these virtual performances highlight the sounds and songs of tenement life in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Enjoy an intimate, musical celebration of the life and work of Dr. Michael “Mick” Moloney with some of his closest collaborators and friends. Moloney was a performer, folklorist, and historian of Irish American music whose work, among many other firsts, helped explore the connections between Irish and African American music and cultural traditions.
Live from our recreated 1960s living room, the Chembo Corniel Trio brings to life the sounds of Loisaida and New York Puerto Rican musicians’ communities. Through performance and discussion, we explored how these sounds evolved and their legacies today in partnership with the Nuyorican Poets Café, a Lower East Side cultural cornerstone since 1973.
Our first-ever concert streamed live from 97 Orchard Street! We partnered with the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research to bring you a night exploring New York City in the Yiddish imagination with musical performances from inside the recreated 1890s parlor of the Levine family, immigrants from Eastern Europe.
Virtual Tenement Talks
Livestreamed from inside our recreated historic tenement apartments, these conversations invite historians, scholars, authors, and our Tenement Museum community to explore the deeper questions of our mission.
At the turn of the last century, almost half of all of the city’s clairvoyants worked in the Lower East Side. One such businesswoman, Dora Meltzer, ran her palm reading studio from 97 Orchard Street, now home to the Tenement Museum. Who were immigrants like Dora, and why were customers visiting them?
How did women living in tenements manage family planning and their reproductive health? Gender and labor historian Lara Vapnek and Tenement Museum President Annie Polland explore the genesis of the organization that became Planned Parenthood, connections to immigration policy, and the echoes of the past in today’s debates.
On June 24th, 1982, nearly 20,000 garment workers gathered in Chinatown’s Columbus Park – nearly all of them were Chinese immigrant women. Together, they mounted the largest strike the city had seen in decades. Hear from the leaders as they share their experiences and reflect on the strike’s relevance today.
Playwright and novelist Kia Corthron, author of Moon and the Mars, tells the story of a young girl, Theo, growing up with her family in Five Points, a diverse Lower Manhattan tenement neighborhood. Set between 1853 –1863, we follow Theo’s coming of age spent in the respective homes of her Black and Irish grandmothers and in an increasingly divided country as it edges closer to the Civil War.
Foods of the Lower East Side
Our virtual food programming, from book talks to workshops, serves to strengthen the connection between food and our histories.
Journey into the history of pickles on the Lower East Side. Learn how Lower East Siders pickled their veggies 100 years ago, why the tradition of pickling was important for many immigrants from Eastern Europe, and how kids got a good deal on their pickle purchases. Plus, catch a short demo of how to make your own cucumber pickles at home!
Watch a free virtual talk with Tung Nguyen, Katherine Manning, and Lyn Nguyen, the authors of Mango and Peppercorns: A Memoir of Food, an Unlikely Family, and the American Dream, a powerful memoir of resilience, friendship, family, and food and their acclaimed, award-winning Hy Vong Vietnamese restaurant in Miami.
Explore a new side of tenement life in a virtual talk with Jane Ziegelman, author of 97 Orchard Street: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement. A renowned food historian, Jane is joined by Tenement Museum’s Collections Manager, Lana Dubin. Together, they explore the culinary life of the residents of our historic 97 Orchard Street.
Stories of New York
As part of the Museum’s virtual events, these programs discuss the vibrant, complicated, diverse, and unique stories that make up New York – past and present.
Enjoy a special Tenement Museum and the African Burial Ground National Monument joint virtual program that traces the history of African experiences in New Amsterdam. We explore the history of two African families through primary sources to learn about who they were and how they made a home on the land that became Manhattan.
Join the Tenement Museum and Think!Chinatown for an intimate look at the art and stories behind everyday artifacts in Manhattan’s Chinatown. What happens when everyday objects are recognized as artifacts? See how ordinary items like mooncake tins or hawthorne candy can spark conversations of collective memory and strengthen cultural understanding.
In partnership with the American Indian Community House, historian Kent Blansett, author of A Journey to Freedom: Richard Oakes, Alcatraz, and the Red Power Movement shares the life of Akwesasne Mohawk activist Richard Oakes, who grew up in Brooklyn, and how his actions reflected a unique voice of Indigenous leadership within the Red Power movement, a movement seeking self-determination for American Indians.
Virtual Family Events and Hands-On Activities
Geared towards children, these educational virtual programs use arts & crafts and storytelling to help families engage with the past.
Explore time capsules — containers of all shapes and sizes that capture a moment. 97 Orchard Street is a kind of time capsule: a building abandoned for fifty years, then reopened as part of the Tenement Museum to help us understand the past. Capture your own experiences by making some “2020 Time Capsules” for future historians!
What were New York immigrant parents and kids doing to earn money in their apartments? How did they balance work and family? The Museum’s Education Department gives a lesson on working from home in 1905 and teaches you how to make a paper flower bouquet, a common item made in tenement apartments.
Take a look inside some of the homes and workplaces of the past to learn about how children played with materials they had around their homes and neighborhoods. We explore over 100 years of play and draw inspiration from the past to create some of our own toys and games!
Virtual Book Talks
Our virtual book talks allow us to engage with authors discussing a wide array of immigrant and New York City history.
Hear from Andria Lo and Valerie Luu, the authors and photographers of Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown’s Most Stylish Seniors. Together, we discuss some of the philosophical wisdom and personal stories about immigration and Chinese American culture shared in the book through their beautiful portraits of trendsetting seniors across six Chinatowns – San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City, and Vancouver.
Scott Seligman, author of The Great Kosher Meat War of 1902: Immigrant Housewives and the Riots That Shook New York City, tells us the story that newspapers at the time called a modern Jewish Boston Tea Party. He is joined by the Tenement Museum’s own Director of Curatorial Affairs, Dave Favaloro, who shares the unique perspective from the butcher shop that operated from our famous 97 Orchard Street.
Watch a virtual talk with the creators of A is for Asylum Seeker, author Rachel Ida Buff, illustrator Iuscely Flores, and translator Alejandra Oliva. In a world where the difference between “undocumented migrant” and “asylum seeker” can mean life or death, words have weighty consequences. Together with our Director of Programs, Kat Lloyd, they explore the histories of migration and the longstanding definitions of words for people on the move that are often deployed in the news.
Objects of Comfort
Part of the Your Story, Our Story collection, Objects of Comfort highlight the objects that hold the stories, passed down through the generations, that illustrate our ancestor’s resilience through hardship and bring us comfort during difficult times.