Comment: Ellis Island Museum Expands
The New York Times reports that Ellis Island Immigration Museum, which presents the story of immigration through Ellis Island (1897-1954), is expanding to include post-Ellis Island immigration history to bring the story up to date. The new galleries are scheduled to open in May 2015.
Among the more arresting features of the new galleries are kiosks on which immigrants tell their stories, in videos produced by the History Channel. Some images are almost life size, conveying a sense that one is having a conversation with, say, Jean-Pierre Kamwa, who fled his country for fear he would be killed by the government and appealed for asylum when he landed at Kennedy Airport in 1999. He was instead confined for five months. By his own account, Mr. Kamwa was finally granted asylum. The face on another kiosk is that of Michael Donovan, a member of the foundation board. He is a British citizen and a native of Panama who grew up in Costa Rica and Peru before moving to England. He arrived in the United States in the mid-1960s, worked briefly for IBM and then founded Donovan Data Systems, a forerunner of Mediaocean, of which he is executive chairman.
In 2011, the museum added galleries covering immigration history prior to operation of Ellis Island. The museum has been renamed Ellis Island National Immigration Museum, reflecting its broadened mission.
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