Ellis Island, the historic processing center for millions of immigrants in New York Harbor, will open a new exhibition Wednesday that focuses on American immigration in the postwar years and up to the present.
The new show and completion of the island's Peopling of America Center brings a new name to the museum too. It will now be known as the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration (it used to be called the Ellis Island Immigration Museum).
The museum tells the story of the 12 million immigrants who passed through between 1892 and 1954 in four parts: the journey to America, struggle and survival after arrival, efforts to build communities and becoming citizens.
"The Journey: New Eras of Immigration," which opens Wednesday, looks at the immigrant experience from 1954, the year Ellis Island closed, to immigration struggles and issues today. It uses interactive displays to talk about how improved global communication and transportation drive modern-day immigration to the U.S.
Short films show newcomers in places such as Queens, where visitors follow the story of a Pakistani taxi driver and his route to America as part of the show. There are also firsthand accounts of people telling their stories of how they left their homeland to make a new life in this country.
The pre-Ellis Island portion of the museum -- "Journeys: The People of America: 1550s to 1890" -- opened in 2011 and explores early arrivals of Native Americans and slaves. The island opened as a processing center in 1892.
It has been a long road to the completion of the museum. Ellis Island was largely underwater after Hurricane Sandy swept through New York City and Long Island in October 2012. The museum closed for a year to repair the damage.