|Doors to the Ferry Building's dock were blown off |
their hinges by Sandy's powerful surges.
Lesser known to the public is the building's multipurpose space, which hosts SEI's professional development seminars for educators. Teachers learn more about the historic and current day immigration experience, as well as methods for bringing Ellis Island to life in their own classrooms. Participants also have the opportunity to tour the main museum and hospital buildings, experiences that help them provide a richer perspective to their students. In many cases, teachers even return with their classes for additional, age-appropriate lessons about various immigration issues.
|Ellis Island's Ferry Building classroom took a big hit, too,|
leaving unsalvageable equipment and learning materials.
As a temporary measure, the organization is working to bring its seminars into classrooms in the New York/New Jersey area, so students will get at least partial benefit from learning about facets of Ellis Island. Still, SEI will take a financial hit from the situation, only broadening the harsh impact of the storm.
Ellis has a lengthy history of ups and downs, from its heyday in the early 20th century to the abandonment in mid century and the restoration of the iconic main building in the 1980s. I have every faith that it'll come back stronger than ever, but right now, the fate of the south side is still very much in question. If you'd like to help Save Ellis Island stay the course and continue its work, visit their website to learn about various donation opportunities, as well as their educational offerings. Ellis Island is an irreplaceable part of the story of America, and its New Jersey connection - the hospital - must continue to be told.