New York’s Ellis Island Museum Gets a Face-Lift

This article was first published by the New York Times.

The museum on Ellis Island “tells a foundational story of who we are as a country because it tells a story of where we came from,” said Jesse Brackenbury, the president and chief executive of the nonprofit that works in partnership with the National Park Service, which operates the museum. “You’re walking in the footsteps of the 12 million people who came through.”

“But,” he added, “it’s a 34-year-old museum.”

It needs more than just a little freshening up, he said. His organization, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, is beginning a $100 million project for what he called “a reimagined museum,” with a 120-foot-wide video screen. For visitors who want to look up relatives — “the emotional core of a visit,” Brackenbury said — there will be an expanded family history center with a database of 154 million names.