New Tenement Museum Visitor Center Opens Next Tuesday

Posted on: September 13th, 2011 at 6:28 am by

The day is nigh, one the Tenement Museum has eagerly anticipated.  Three years of interior demolition and construction have finally been put to rest at the corner of Orchard and Delancey Streets.  No more street and sidewalk obstructions; no more hard-hat tours; no more waiting. The new Sadie Samuelson Levy Immigrant Heritage Center is indeed ready for action, adding 10,000 square-feet of space to the neighborhood institution.

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Next Tuesday, this Lower East Side beacon of tourism will launch its new facility at 103 Orchard Street with an official naturalization ceremony. Sixteen New Yorkers will become United States citizens during the event, to be officiated by Judge Robert Allen Katzmann and attended by Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, Borough President Scott Stringer and Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate Levin.

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In addition to an upgraded gift shop, the new space offers the following tourist amenities:

  • State-of-the-art “smart” classrooms allowing the Museum to offer its award-winning education programs to many more K-12 students and English language learners
  • A demonstration kitchen providing space for programs on immigrant foodways
  • A theater space screening a new original film about the Museum and the neighborhood
  • A learning gallery featuring temporary exhibitions related to the Museum’s mission

From the inbox:

On September 20, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum will celebrate the completion of its Sadie Samuelson Levy Immigrant Heritage Center with a naturalization ceremony for 16 immigrants as they become United States Citizens. The ceremony will mark the beginning of a new chapter for these citizens and for the Museum, as it inaugurates its new Visitor and Education Center at 103 Orchard Street.

For more than twenty years, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum has celebrated the American immigrant experience through its thought-provoking tours of the historic tenement building at 97 Orchard Street on New York’s Lower East Side. This ceremony will be the first of its kind for the Museum, reflecting the institution’s commitment to connecting our nation’s immigrant heritage to the present day. The diverse group of new citizens will become part of history as they follow in the footsteps of more than 7,000 immigrants who made their homes at 97 Orchard between 1863 and 1935.

The ceremony will be officiated by Judge Robert Allen Katzmann of the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York. Judge Katzmann, the son of a refugee from Nazi Germany and grandson of immigrants from Russia, is an advocate for the improvement of legal representation for immigrants.

The ceremony will be followed by remarks from New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, New York City Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs Kate Levin and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

“We’re deeply honored to be celebrating with twenty of our nation’s newest citizens on this exciting day,” said Morris Vogel, President of the Tenement Museum. “Our Museum links the stories of our nation’s immigrant ancestors to those of our own families, neighbors, colleagues and friends. This event will beautifully reflect our mission, paying tribute to our nation’s rich past while celebrating its vibrant future.”

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