— -- For the first time in 60 years, visitors to Ellis Island will be able to reenter its south-side hospital this October.
A massive complex comprised of 30 buildings, including staff residences and a mortuary, the hospital screened immigrants for infectious diseases before it was shuttered in 1954. But thanks to the diligence of nonprofit group Save Ellis Island in partnership with the National Parks Service, new tours will now be offered to groups of 10 visitors at a time.
Previously, the buildings in the public health complex were considered too dilapidated and dangerous to permit entry. After partial restoration, however, program tours will now make 18 stops around the campus and allow guests to experience another side of American history: Approximately 10 percent of the 12 million immigrants who made their way through Ellis Island arrived too sick to enter the country, according to the nonprofit group.
A photography exhibit by artist JR is also being installed on select interiors of the complex, and will include life-size portraits of immigrants pasted onto windows and walls to add context to the spaces.
Ticket prices have yet to be announced but will be available for purchase on the Save Ellis Island website beginning Sept. 25. Proceeds from the sales will go toward the further remediation of the complex.