Operated today by the National Park Service, Ellis Island first opened in 1892 as a federal immigration station, a purpose it served for more than 60 years. Millions of newly arrived immigrants who had traveled in second or third class passed through the station during that time. Upon arrival on Ellis Island, they were subjected to a health inspection and required to meet certain legal standards to gain entry.
Ellis Island is home to the National Museum of Immigration, located in the main building of the former immigration station complex. It was also the location of the largest public health hospital at the time, where immigrants who arrived sick or infirm were treated. Visitors learn about the immigration process, the pre-Ellis Island story, in addition to the history of the numerous women workers at Ellis Island. The museum exhibits are constantly evolving!