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Sharing the

immigrant experience

Visitors to Ellis Island connect with their family’s past and explore the vast story of global immigration.

Ellis Island symbolizes the hope, renewal and opportunity associated with immigration.

ESI Design created two distinct experiences for the National Immigration Museum that bring this spirit to life.

American Family Immigration History Center
The core experience at the museum enables visitors to search over 22 million passenger records and 3.5 million digitized ship manifests for their family members who arrived at the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924. At the museum and on the Web, visitors can locate relatives and see the wealth of information collected from passengers at debarkation points. They can also print a copy of the manifest that bears a relative’s name and a photograph of the ship that carried him or her to Ellis Island. In collaboration with the National Park Service, ESI also designed the Center’s physical environment, which complements the historic building.

Peopling of America Center
To make the Ellis Island experience relevant for families who did not pass through Ellis Island, ESI more recently designed an additional experience called the Peopling of America Center (POAC). Opened in two parts in 2011 and 2015, these exhibitions tell the story of American immigration before the processing station opened in 1892 and after it closed in 1954. By creatively combining dynamic video with interactive installations, ambient sound and interpretive graphics, ESI created an immersive environment that gives visitors a first-hand sense of the immigrant experience in each time period.

Read more about the tech design behind the exhibits on our ESI Design blog.

Experience Design



Data Visualization








Staff Training






"New exhibitions at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration complete a demanding assignment: to tell the entire story of immigration to the United States."

The New York Times

2 million visitors per year


2002 AIGA Annual Design Awards – Winner, Experience Design

2001 Creativity Annual 31 – Website Award


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