We tell the stories of working-class tenement residents, who moved to New York City from other countries and other parts of the country. Their work helped build the city and nation, and their stories help us understand our history. While textbooks often overlook the stories of ordinary people, our tours immerse visitors in the tenement hallways, kitchens and parlors where families carved out new lives. We share primary sources and research that helps us explore the stories of tenement families. Public programs, curricula and our Your Story Our Story website continue the conversation, using our stories as points of departure to connect the past to present.
We aim to build an inclusive and expansive American identity and believe that the exploration of our complex history—one with moments of both inclusion and exclusion—helps prepare us to recognize and discuss today’s complex issues with empathy and nuance.