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The doors to the new Peopling of America Center® galleries opened to the public on May 20, 2015. This major expansion of the museum bookends the Ellis Island era by telling the story of immigration to America before the processing station opened in 1892 and after it closed in 1954. The Center's exhibits explore the immigrant experience by following their journey to America, struggle and survival after they arrived, efforts to build communities and becoming citizens of their new nation. With the entire story of American arrival now being told, the museum has been renamed the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.
The museum's entrance in the historic Baggage Room is transformed by the World Migration Globe, a radiant globe which illustrates migration patterns throughout human history not only to the United States but around the world. A dynamic LCD panel shows more about the changing global migration patterns. In addition, an introductory exhibit on the history of immigration to the United States from the 18th Century to the present utilizes an interactive timeline to provide visitors with a chronological context for understanding the entire museum.
Also displayed in the entrance is the American Flag of Faces™, a large, interactive video installation filled with a montage of images submitted by individuals of their families, their ancestors or even themselves which illustrates the ever-changing American mosaic. A living exhibit, Flag of Faces continues to accept photo submissions.
The pre-Ellis galleries explore the stories of the earliest arrivals, including Native Americans, those who arrived against their will, and immigration during the Colonial and Victorian eras until the opening of Ellis Island in 1892. First-hand accounts of the immigrant's journey are told through interpretive graphics and poignant audio stories.
The post-Ellis galleries reflect the rapid pace of technological progress that has characterized migration since WWII and the challenges and opportunities faced by immigrants in this modern world. Exhibits use dynamic media and interactive elements to portray the post-war immigration movement and changing demographic trends over the decades. Film vignettes feature new immigrants sharing their first-hand accounts of arriving and living in America and becoming naturalized citizens. The Towns Across America videos as well as the Oath of Citizenship video below are provided courtesy of History Channel.
The Peopling of America Center was designed by ESI Design and fabricated by Hadley Exhibits, Inc. The architectural design was done by Highland Associates, with construction executed by Phelps Construction Group. Supporters of the Center include Bank of America, The Coca-Cola Company, The Annenberg Foundation, Michael and Linda Donovan and History Channel, which produced and underwrote all audio and video presentations. Additional supporters are listed here. And, we appreciate the generosity of the American people for their continuing support in the building of the Center.
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