Ellis Island Hospital Complex
Ellis Island Office
Historic Hospital Laundry Building
Tours happen daily
Tours are 90 minutes long and leave from the Immigration Museum. It is suggested that guests arrive 5 to 10 before their scheduled tour to sign in. Guests should be aware the tour covers 1.5 miles of the unrestored hospital buildings and grounds and there are no restrooms or seating areas.
Contagion sometimes found a home in the crowded third class sections of ocean liners, with new immigrants arriving on Ellis Island with measles, tuberculosis, influenza, and a variety of other ailments. Others left their ports of departure with any number of health or medical conditions ranging from pregnancy to injuries to mental illness.
Anyone identified by the medical inspectors as unhealthy upon arrival would not be allowed to enter the country and would find themselves in the hospital complex. Here they were cared for in what was, in its day, a state-of-the-art complex. In a place full of hope for a better life, the hospital buildings were islands of both sorrow and redemption.
A sense of both is evoked in the remarkable images pasted in the rooms and hallways, part of the current exhibit by French artist JR, titled Unframed—Ellis Island. The images draw visitors into a world that no longer exists. Rooms filled with quiet anticipation, the massive steel doors of the long silent autoclave, broken windows, half-open walls capture the stories of the Ellis Island Hospital, and the 1.2 million immigrants treated there.
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