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Jan Hird Pokorny Associates, Inc.

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Museums and Historic Sites

Ellis Island No. 3 Visitor Tour Planning Study

New York NY, 2008




Working with Save Ellis Island Inc. a not-for-profit educational organization and the National Park Service, JHPA prepared a planning study for a guided tour route among several specific building destinations on a long unoccupied/unrestored portion of Ellis Island a National Historic Site in New York Harbor. Island No. 3 contained quarantine and hospital facilities for arriving imigrants who were not permitted to enter the U.S. mainland because of contagious, physical, or mental illnesses. After its peak period of operation from 1905 just prior to the outbreak of World War II it fell into disuse and was abandoned in 1954. It has not been used since and allowed to deteriorate.

JHPA’s assignment was to prepare a conceptual design for a tour route physically linking the deteriorated former Boiler Plant, Morgue, Autopsy Theatre, Laundry, and Psychiatric Ward as well as the former Recreation Building converted into an orientation center in order to tell the history of Public Health in the United States. The spaces were to be preserved in a decayed state, but made safe for visitors by inconspicuous code compliance, hazardous materials abatement, access for the physically handicapped, and structural stabilization. Along the tour route new exhibit materials would enliven the spaces and engage the visitor to make for a rich mix of historic and interpretive elements. The project also included a separate study to design a tour route to the former Operating Room in a remote hospital building. This study was the first phase of logical steps toward realization. JHPA has ultimately prepared stabilization surveys and design documents for this project.