Imagine if you will. You've been on the ship now for weeks. In steerage. You've sold everything you had to pay for the passage. You've fit everything you treasure in two trunks a large basket and a cloth bag. It's all you and your family have to start over again in a new land. America.
Then finally one day you see her - the Lady in the Harbor. The glorious beacon to freedom. You have arrived. The promised land is before you. Soon you will see for yourself if the streets are really paved with gold.
Then up the stairs to the reception room. It's large, so much larger than anything you've seen back home. And it is full of people and benches. A man in a uniform directs you to one side. You wait, you hope. You sweat it out.
Most people were processed through Ellis Island with no problems. Their paper work was in order, they showed no signs that they would be a burden on society, so they were released and ferried over to the train station in Jersey City or to New York to continue their journey and start their new life.
Some however had to go through medical exams, legal hearings and competency tests. Some people stayed for days or weeks on Ellis Island in the dormitories that slept 300 in beds stacked three high.
Today the island is a museum. And it is where we spent out day today. There are wonderful displays about immigration through the ages - and specifically to Ellis Island. Very informative and very interesting as well.
One interesting thing is the language tree - showing what language some of our common words come from. Pippi likes the word Caboodle; it's Dutch.