The Tenement Museum

This was my first visit to the Tenement Museum and I enjoyed the trip. The Tenement Museum provided us with a unique museum experience, rather than a tour guide speaking as we looked at artifacts behind glass cases.

While the museum mentioned information that I have previously been taught, it provided a different point of view and supplied me with more information. I was surprised to learn that the legal definition of a tenement is a building that has three or more unrelated families residing there. I found it interesting when our tour guide spoke about the differences between tenements and how some had more advanced conditions. Previously, tenement conditions have always been described as the same, and I was happy to hear that at least some of them had better systems, even if it was for the benefit of the tenement owner and landlord.

The role playing allowed us to imagine how it felt to recently arrive in America and be thrust into the heterogeneity of a tiny but bustling area filled with people speaking different languages, and shops selling wares that may not have been familiar. I liked the authenticity of the actress portraying Victoria Confino and the room where we carried out our visit to the Tenement Museum especially after it was explained to us that Victoria Confino lived in the tenement that was converted into the museum. I also liked that Victoria Confino’s family continues to remain an integral part of the museum and the reenactment.

From the visit, it is clear that the Tenement Museum cares about preserving the stories of the families that lived in that building and in providing patrons of the museum with a concise and differing view of how the people of the tenements lived.

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