An illustration in the satirical magazine, Puck, showing Uncle Sam as a "Modern Moses" welcoming European immigrants, fleeing "intolerance" and "oppression". swissinfo.ch
The main building has been restored to what it would have looked like to new arrivals being ferried there on boats 100 years ago. swissinfo.ch
In the peak immigration years in the late 19th, early 20th centuries, thousands were packed into this hall every day, waiting to be processed. swissinfo.ch
Doctors used button hooks to look behind eyelids for signs of the infectious disease, trachoma. swissinfo.ch
The wide array of instruments the doctors had at their disposal is on show for visitors to Ellis Island today. swissinfo.ch
The facilities included a hospital, to isolate immigrants and prevent the spread of communicable diseases. swissinfo.ch
Some of those whose processing was delayed occupied their time scratching graffiti into the walls. swissinfo.ch
A reminder that they had arrived in the new world was visible out the window. swissinfo.ch
Upon arrival, the immigrants were separated from their trunks, which held all of their belongings. swissinfo.ch
The great hall where immigrants were crowded into is relatively empty nowadays, yet Ellis Island sees nearly twice as many people annually - around two million - as it did in the biggest years of immigration. swissinfo.ch
The museum displays sculptures made to honour the new arrivals. swissinfo.ch
Pride of place is granted a 15-year-old Irish girl, Annie Moore, the first immigrant to be processed at Ellis Island. swissinfo.ch
Overwhelmed by the huge numbers coming to the country, the US began a drive to "Americanize" the new arrivals. swissinfo.ch
The foreign-born would soon be asked - in their native tongue - to do their part to support the US troops fighting on the continent they left behind. swissinfo.ch
Ethnic stereotypes became part of popular culture. swissinfo.ch
Nowadays, the United States is proud of its ethnic mix. Depending on the angle, this display shows the Stars and Stripes, a collage of faces of Americans of diverse backgrounds or a mixture of both. swissinfo.ch
An added bonus of visiting Ellis Island today is the exceptional view back to Manhattan. swissinfo.ch
Tourists come in such large numbers, they often have to wait in line to get on the boat ferrying them to the island, or back to Manhattan. swissinfo.ch
Ellis Island brings back to life the immigrant experience.
This content was published on May 7, 2009
May 7, 2009
Over 12 million immigrants entered the United States through the Ellis Island processing centre in New York between 1892 and 1954. Some of the buildings have been converted into a museum devoted to US immigration history. (pictures: Ellis Island and Dale Bechtel)
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