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Visual & Performing Arts
English (U.S.)
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Museum Visit and Paper: The Tenement Museum (Coursework Sample)


Why did you choose to visit that place?
What did you learn from your visit?
What did you like most about the museum?
What did you like most about the exhibits? What would you have changed if you could?
How is the location connected to the course/ or a specific part of the course?
How did your knowledge and background of labor studies change the lens in which you viewed the exhibits?
What readings from this course were helpful for viewing and understanding the exhibits?
Would you recommend visiting to other students in the class? Why or why not?


Museum visit and paper
The United States is a diverse nation built through many periods of hard work by generations of immigrants. However, it is virtually impossible to migrate to the U.S today because of government policies directed towards immigration. Nevertheless, all is not lost as the Tenement Museum in the Lower East Side of New York City offers the experiences of early immigrants to America. The lifestyle of the Wong family, the Epsteins, the Saez-Velez family, and other immigrant families are well captured through various exhibitions of their earlier apartments and displayed at Under One Roof section of the museum.
Considering how immigration has transformed into a global issue due to the intense politics around it, one wonders how the issue was dealt with before, during, and after World War 2. The Tenement Museum in New York offers glimpses of the experiences of Eastern European Jewish, German, Italian and Irish immigrants. However, the original Museums building was destroyed in 1935, thus the experience is very limited. It is at this point where Under One Roof comes in. Although it is part of the Tenement Museum, Under One Roof provides a comprehensive presentation of immigration on the Lower East Side with a focus on some of the families who lived in 103 Orchard Street during the post-World War 2 era. It is for this reason that I chose to visit Under One Roof and fully understand the plight and experiences of these immigrants.
Extreme diversity can be the greatest barrier to achieving long lasting peace. However, the exhibitions presented at Under One Roof indicate that people just use diversity as an excuse to condemn others. Under One Roof has exhibitions displaying how immigrants from all over the world lived in the same flats, shared corridors and staircases, and protected and preserved the symbols of each other’s culture. For instance, a tightly packed exhibit in the Epsteins’ former apartment displays how the Epsteins’ from Germany, Ramonita Rivera from Puerto Rico, and the Wong family all lived in the same building peacefully. The life of an immigrant is not and has never been easy, but their intertwined experiences at Under One Roof brought a vibrant and compassionate culture to the Lower East Side of New York. Consequently, I hope that the American society will one day embody the values on exhibition at Under One Roof.
One element that makes the Tenement Museum likable is its hospitality and the comprehensive nature of its exhibitions. After arriving, one is given a friendly welcome at the door which includes rest room facilities in the shop area in case someone is tired or fatigued. Tickets and information is provided from the main desk at a very quick speed. The essence behind such speed is to ensure no visitor misses the start of the tour. As a way of preparing those undertaking Under One Roof tour, a rolling film was provided as means for setting the tone for the tour. The museum allows visitors to practically feel the place by requesting them to handle some of the exhibitions. For instance, the rooms at Under One Roof were decorated with original furnishings where possible and we were requested to sit on the bed and get a feel for the place. I liked the comprehensive nature of the tour as provided b

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