For many American’s alive today it is difficult to imagine the deep range of feelings that newly arriving immigrants had upon their arrival at Ellis Island. More than a century after first opening on January 1 1892 the site is still an emotional and unforgettable part of the histories for nearly half of American families. In the most comprehensive documentary of the Ellis Island story in all its complexity we take you behind the scenes into the memory-haunted ruins of un-restored Ellis Island. The Museum In the Main Building of the former immigration station complex a unique museum now preserves this important part of American history. Our cameras trace the saga from the old world where it all began to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum the nation’s monument to its immigrant heritage and the inspiring story of the immigrants’ lives in the New World. Truly a memorial to the common people it is a testimony to the indomitable spirit of the 12 million souls who trod its ground seeking entrance to America The Immigrants They came from every point of the compass every race and creed they spoke a babble of tongues and tightly clutched a dream… America. Some came to escape poverty political or religious persecution some were driven by the passion for adventure. Experience the profound human drama of ordinary people caught up in the tides of history as Ellis Island plays its roles before during and after the peak immigration. The Legacy People were born here married here and some died here. Dreams hopes and disappointments transpired here. Conjured in the ruins the halls the rooms are the echoes of laughter and lament within the multitude of people passing through was the spirit and determination which helped shape a nation. Here within the glow of the Statue of Liberty which beckoned the immigrant into the harbor Ellis Island was the beginning of the opportunity and achievement for those in search of the American dream.
18 August 2008