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Who May Enter? Ellis Island and Angel Island Experiences

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Cultures +4 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

During this experience you will follow in the steps of immigrants whose immigration story took them to Angel Island and Ellis Island providing you a window into who came to the United States, why they came, the immigration process, their acceptance or denial as well as their legacy. You will find student instructions for each section on the arrow slide dividers. Click on each for instructions.  #APA2018

Throughout this experience consider the 3 Ys:

  1. Why might this snapshot of Angel Island & Ellis Island matter to me?
  2. Why might it matter to people around (family, friends, fellow students, community)
  3. What might it matter to the world?


Quotes / Poems to consider:

Angel Island Written on the walls in Chinese

I am distressed that we Chinese are
in this wooden building
It is actually racial barriers which cause
difficulties on Yingtai Island.
Even while they are tyrannical they still
claim to be humanitarian.
I should regret my taking the risks of
coming in the first place.

This is a message to those who live here not
to worry excessively.
Instead, you must cast your idle worries to
the flowing stream.
Experiencing a little ordeal is not hardship.
Napoleon was once a prisoner on an island.

Ellis Island

"Well, I came to America because I heard the streets were paved with gold. When I got here, I found out three things: first, the streets weren’t paved with gold; second, they weren’t paved at all; and third, I was expected to pave them." Italian Immigrant

"Island of Hope, Island of Tears"

The 3Ys: Project Zero Global Competency Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

China, Miscellaneous Scenes

Smithsonian Institution Archives

Franco-Prussian War Image

International Committee of Red Cross


Merri Weir


Merri Weir

Arrival Angel Island

National Park Service

Medical Inspection - Angel Island

National Park Service

Interrogations - Angel Island

National Park Service

Inspection - Ellis Island

National Park Service

Ethnic Enclaves

Merri Weir


Merri Weir

How Else and Why: Project Zero Global Thinking Routine

SI Center for Learning and Digital Access

Cartoon, "Out in the Coid"

National Museum of American History

The Ladder

Re-Imagining Migration

The Immigrant

Georgetown University