Tuesday Talk – “New Lives in a New Country: The Lower East Side Tenement Museum”

August 25, 2020 @ 4:00 pm
$20 at Ventfort, $20 plus ticket fee for Zoom

Social historian Morris Vogel will give a visual presentation on the Lower East Side Tenement Museum in New York City of which he is president.    He will lecture on Tuesday, August 25 at 4:00 pm here at the mansion as part of the Summer 2020 series of Tuesday Talks.

A National Trust Historic Site, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum tells the story of how immigrants became new Americans and how America became a nation of immigrants.  Visitors experience the human side of a special history through guided tours of recreated homes, the personal stories of the residents and the businesses they opened inside the museum’s two restored tenement buildings.  These were homes to over 15,000 immigrants from more than 20 nations between 1863 and 2000.

“These are stories of people who brought their dreams to this country, raised their children here and built their families… What we are telling is America’s story.  If we don’t tell this story now, the story disappears,” states Vogel.

The rooms and exhibits at 97 Orchard Street focus on the stories of families of different immigrant backgrounds who lived there between 1863 and 1935.  In 2014, the museum expanded with the addition of 103 Orchard Street where those who came to the Lower East Side after World War II lived, including Holocaust survivors and Puerto Rican and Chinese families. The museum welcomes more than 225,000 visitors a year with many more turned away due to space limitations.

Vogel trained as an American social and urban historian at Brandeis University and the University of Chicago before joining the faculty at Temple University, where he was promoted to professor in 1985. Later on, he served as dean of the college. He subsequently directed the Rockefeller Foundation’s Creativity and Culture Program. Vogel is the author or editor of six books on American social and cultural history. He co-founded and directed the National Endowment for the Humanities-funded Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities.

A first-generation American, Vogel was born in Kazakhstan where his Polish-Jewish parents were stateless refugees, having fled Nazi-held Poland.   After living in a displaced persons camp in Poland after World War II, the family moved to the US in 1949.  “I became an American historian because I was curious about who I was in the refugee context, always harkening back to what was a ‘real’ American and watching Americans evolve toward a generous and inclusive understanding of their national identity,” Vogel points out.

Tickets for the Vogel lecture either at Ventfort Hall or via Zoom are $20 per person. To view him on Zoom register at https://ventfort08252020.eventbrite.com

Reservations for attending the presentation at Ventfort Hall are strongly recommended as seating will be strictly limited. For reservations to attend at the mansion call us at 413-637-3206.  The museum’s traditional Victorian Teas cannot be served until further notice due to the Corona virus.

The Summer 2020 series of Tuesday Talks are sponsored by Ventfort Hall board member Lucille Landa and William Landa.