A VISIT TO THE TENEMENT MUSEUM

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A few weeks ago Dom and I took the Hard Times Tour at the Tenement Museum.  Both of our families came here from Europe at the times of the tenements, so we were very interested to take this tour.  It was fascinating because the building stands unchanged.  The tour guide was excellent.  He gave the listener a real feel for what life was like at that time.

I not only came away from the tour with a renewed respect for my ancestors but also the tour caused me to reflect about immigration in general.  Our country has always struggled with the idea of opening her boarders.  Yet…..  I will let this snipped from an article written by Daniel Griswold express my feelings-

By Daniel Griswold
This article appeared in Insight on February 18, 2002.
Immigration always has been controversial in the United States. More than two centuries ago, Benjamin Franklin worried that too many German immigrants would swamp America’s predominantly British culture. In the mid-1800s, Irish immigrants were scorned as lazy drunks, not to mention Roman Catholics. At the turn of the century a wave of “new immigrants” — Poles, Italians, Russian Jews — were believed to be too different ever to assimilate into American life. Today the same fears are raised about immigrants from Latin America and Asia, but current critics of immigration are as wrong as their counterparts were in previous eras.

Immigration is not undermining the American experiment; it is an integral part of it. We are a nation of immigrants. Successive waves of immigrants have kept our country demographically young, enriched our culture and added to our productive capacity as a nation, enhancing our influence in the world.

Hoping you get an opportunity to go to this museum,

Bernadette

About Bernadette

I live in the small town of Haddonfield, NJ. I am at an age in my life when I seem to spend time thinking and musing about life. These musings are usually stimulated by my walks through Haddonfield, my reading of books and fellow bloggers, and my interaction with my group of fabulous family and friends.

8 Responses

  1. My girls and I visited this museum several years ago and LOVED it! We’ve often spoken of visiting again, but we’re a 6-7 hour drive away. I especially loved how this museum helped me envision the setting for some of my favorite books: A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Orphan Train, etc. It’s lovely to know that others enjoy it as much as we did and I also enjoyed reading the article about immigration. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. I must admit that I didn’t know about this. It sounds like an interesting place to visit and one that many people can relate to, myself included since my grandparents were immigrants from the Ukraine.

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  3. I would suppose there is ‘suspect’ whenever a group of immigrants come to our countries in North America (I’m in Canada). Every culture can add something. There are some who ‘take away’… but that is true of every one of them’ My ancestors came from England and Ireland and my husband’s from Germany. We must give them a chance to live in freedom.. Diane

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  4. How many of us would be here if not for immigration? All of my grandparents were immigrants. I would like to visit this someday. Thanks for putting it on my radar.

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  5. I loved your pairing your experience with the reflections of Benjamin Franklin. We do seem to repeat ourselves! I was there in June with Fran and Sandy Brumbaugh. Such a great tour. Such hard working people we come from!

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  6. very interesting place, I think. I ask myself, what we in Germany are putting in a Museum in 150 years? Boats from the refugees who come over the sea to Europe? Pictures from overcrowded camps where people are waiting to get in touch with bureaucracy? The waiting-number from those who are standing in long rows, waiting, waiting, waiting, that things go on?
    The deep wish for a better life is the motor for leaving one’s home and country under difficult conditions. And the residents have to overcome their prejudices.

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