Although my grandparents had also immigrated to America from Ireland, yet I could not learn about the difficulties immigrants faced as much from them as I learned in the Tenement Museum. Perhaps, my grandparents had had a smooth journey through it all, so they never told me things were as harsh for the immigrants as I saw in the Tenement Museum.
The Tenement Museum is one of its own kind. Unlike the trend in conventional museums, the tenements cannot be seen unless the visitor makes a walking tour in the form of a group. Visitors can not just roam about the place individually as they would like to. Although not many visitors like me approve of this idea, yet I find it a wonderful way in which the visitors can be made aware of maximum things in the minimum time. My group mates and I together went on the tour titled “Getting By”. In the tour, we had an insight into the life of two families, one of which was of the German-Jewish origin, while the other family was of Italian-Catholic origin. The families were called as the Gumpertz family and the Baldizzi family respectively. The Gumpertz family lived through the Panic of 1873. The Baldizzi family lived in the period of the Great Depression.
The apartments that the immigrants were provided with to live in were very small. Within some square feet, the immigrants had to adjust all areas of a home including the kitchen and the toilet. This tells how tough life must have been for them. As the visitors walk past the houses in groups, they have narrated the stories of the families that lived in them. I particularly liked the character of Nathalie, that was the mother in the Gumpertz family. Julius, the father of the family had run away and the only son Nathalie had passed away when he was very young. Nathalie accordingly became the head of the family. She had no source of income and had to run the expenses of the family.