Ellis Island Immigration Museum is updating the U.S. immigration story. Though immigration is an unending story, the immigration story at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum ends in 1954. That was when the immigration processing and detention station at Ellis Island was closed.
However, the museum will soon open two new galleries that would complete the immigration history of the country. The museum will open the new “Peopling of America Center” on May 20, 2015. The Ellis Island Immigration Museum will also be renamed as Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration on that day.
The two new galleries of the museum will focus on immigration after the U.S. immigration center at Ellis Island was closed. The museum will have interactive displays, audio stories, interpretive graphics and films. This would help people visiting the museum understand the country’s immigration history.
One part of the gallery titled “Feet People” shows how workers from Mexico crossed the borders and came to the U.S. and filled vacant agricultural and construction jobs in the U.S. That was when there were no immigration quotas for independent nations in the Americas. It was only in 1993 that the U.S. Border Patrol began to militarize the U.S.-Mexico border. After that, Mexicans were not able to freely get into the U.S. and those who entered were deported by the Border Patrol. Most of the Mexicans who were deported from the U.S. then had to take dangerous routes to reunite with their family members who were living here. Many risked their lives to reach the U.S.
Stephen A. Briganti, the private Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Inc.’s CEO, said that the museum may not attract visitors if it becomes out of date. The aim of the exhibits is to celebrate the idea of arrival of immigrants to the U.S. and the idea of naturalization.
The new galleries have kiosks that have videos on which immigrants tell their immigration stories. The galleries have life size images of immigrants. For example, one kiosk has the image of Michael Donovan, the founder of Donovan Data Systems. He came to the U.S. in the 1960s from England. On the video, Mr. Donovan says that he would like to become an American citizen.