Collections

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The Museum Collection

This collection on Liberty Island boasts more than 390,000 pieces of history. It’s all organized and accessible via computer records into the broad categories of natural history, archeology and history.

There is a wide array of personal objects from immigrants as well as many items from the island’s long history of use for military purposes and as a quarantine area. Restoration work on the island and statue over the years have revealed many items from Native American tribes that frequented the area before the arrival of the Europeans. The natural history collection is small by comparison, consisting of a collection of plant species.

The Archives Collection

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Located on Ellis Island, it has more than a million archived pieces of history, including negative and prints of slides, but more importantly government reports, rare books, manuscripts monographs, even architectural drawings. Besides being important pieces of history that should be preserved for their own sake and the education of the public, they serve a valuable function for those conducting research into their own genealogical roots and immigration history.

The Oral History Collection

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Also located on Ellis Island, this is a more recent addition. Starting in 1973, the Oral History Project began conducting and collecting interviews that included people’s personal remembrances of their own or their relatives’ immigration experiences. The interviews now number well over 2,000 and visitors may listen to or read them on the third floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum which houses the Oral History Library. New interviews are added to the collection by volunteers and staff at the rate of about 50 each year.

The Bob Hope Memorial Research Library

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This is a collection of documents and items that assist researchers of family genealogy and immigration history. It also houses a large collection of photographs documenting both the construction and use of the Statue of Liberty as well as Ellis Island. The collection is housed on the third floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum

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