If you want a look back at history – to the days when immigrants first arrived on Ellis Island and where 1.2 million immigrants received medical care between 1901 and 1954, a new exhibit is opening on Oct. 1 offering the public an inside look into the Ellis Island Hospital complex that has been closed off since its last admitted patient more than 60 years ago.
The art exhibit, “Unframed – Ellis Island,” by renowned artist JR offers life size historic photographs of Ellis Island immigrants installed to the interior walls of the hospital complex that has remained unrestored.
It gives a look back at the facility that held arriving immigrants who needed health care and those who were too sick to survive or stay.
In its day, Ellis Island Hospital was the largest U.S. Public Health Service institution to treat and cure the sick before they were allowed to enter the land of the free. This was a time when thousands of people also died and children fell ill to scarlet fever, tuberculosis and other deadly diseases.
While the hospital complex has not been restored, areas where the public will have access to are clear of unsafe health conditions although hard hats will need to be worn while you are taken through the crumbling complex with broken glass, walls with peeling plaster and broken fixtures.
Anyone interested in visiting and touring the exhibit must have a reserved ticket offered by Save Ellis Island. Tickets go for $25 for a 90-minute tour, which takes place only four times a day and each tour is limited to 10 people (ages 13 and older).
The tour seeks to not only provide the public a look back at history, but to bring to light what happens when historic building are not given proper care and restoration. Proceeds from the tour will go towards the continued preservation and restoration of the complex.
Photo by National Park Service Digital Image Archives, via Wikimedia Commons.