Education Programs

Join us as we explore the history of one of the greatest public health hospitals ever built. Learn the story of the immigrant hospital on Ellis Island and the fate of those who were detained there. All school programs support New York State Learning Standards, Common Core Learning Standards, and facilitate New Jersey Core Proficiencies for basic social studies skills, attitudes, and knowledge.

south-sideSouth Side Stories

What does it feel like to be in a foreign country, among strangers, speaking a different language, separated from your family after failing a mandatory medical inspection? During the hospital’s busiest years, from 1902 – 1930, immigrants who arrived in America with diseases were treated with suspicion but also with kindness and care. Using historic photos, objects and oral histories students learn how the medical inspection system worked and the reasons why it was implemented.

Grades: 3 – 8  

Future in the Balance

For many immigrants, the medical and mental inspection made the experience of Ellis Island a harrowing one. Twelve year old Abram Abowitz was detained on Ellis Island for 9 months.   In this program, students follow Abram’s story from his arrival on Ellis Island to his eventual admittance into the country.  Using original documents students learn how the medical inspection process protected the health of both the nation and the immigrants who sought refuge here in the United States. Students discuss the emotional impact of that experience and the challenges facing new immigrants to the US today.

Grades:  9 – 12   


Tour the Abandoned Hospital Buildings

“Ellis Island is like a good sized city.  Some days there are as many as 10,000 people temporarily or permanently on the island.” Frederick C. Howe, Commissioner of Immigration, 1916

Extend your program to the un-restored Hospital Complex. Educators tell the stories of patients and the doctors and nurses who treated them.   This is a most unusual and moving experience – one your students will not forget. The power of the buildings, the empty spaces and dark corners tell a unique historic narrative.

This special experience is available for students 10 years and older.   The adventure begins with getting your hard hat in preparation for the abandoned south side of Ellis Island.

Grades: 4 – 12
Capacity: Restrictions to the site apply by age and group size. Call our office for details.


From 1892 to 1954, over 12 million immigrants entered USA through the portal of Ellis Island in New York Harbor

We are part of America's story

Ellis Island tells the story of the journey of millions of men, women and children from around the world who sought a new future on these shores.

Walking around these buildings we're not just talking about history-visitors are able to touch, feel, and understand in a way that connects them to the past. As we rebuild parts of Ellis Island, we are rebuilding its legacy and revitalizing living landmarks to a world gone by. Save Ellis Island is working to create a destination that echoes the beacon of hope that it once was for nearly twelve million immigrants and continues to be for the nearly two million visitors each year.

Find out more

Our Supporters

The Save Ellis Island website is made possible by a generous donation from Heidi Liebi Root in memory of her father Fred Liebi