By: Janah Campbell
Layers of human history lie behind the walls of Manhattan’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum. One of the families conducive to the museum are the Gumpertz. After being victimized to a missing husband, Nathalie Gumpertz turned to entrepreneurship, and transformed her home into her own mini dress shop. On the walls of her apartment, which is now a showcase within the museum, are her original markings, which helped her keep track of how many dresses were being produced and manufactured. Nostalgia is a speciality at this museum, for the goal is to tell one of America’s most important stories of being a nation of immigrants.
The Tenement Museum building was originally an 1863 constructive building, which lost all of its residents in 1935. During the late 1920’s laws were enforced for the protection of others. These laws stated all buildings must be fireproofed, but the landlord of the building which we now know as the Tenement Museum, refused to do so, and instead evicted all of his residents. The museum came along in 1988, and began research towards becoming what is now the go-to place for a nostalgic european immigrant experience. According to a recent press release, “the House Committee on Natural Resources recently approved legislation to allow an expansion on the Tenement Museum.” This could be major for the museum, since an estimated 7,000 immigrants used to live there. The expansion will serve as an opportunity for the museum to accomplish their goal, and educate the minds of thousands more, on the layers of human history that lie behind the walls of the Tenement Museum.