Hundreds of visitors returned to Ellis Island Monday for the reopening of the tourism landmark, one year after Sandy slammed it hard, flooding building basements, destroying electrical and heating systems and forcing the removal of historic artifacts.
“We offer everyone a heart warming welcome to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island which are international icons,” said David Luchsinger, superintendent of the federal facility.
Luchsinger spoke at the main entrance to the museum, which he said is being powered by its original radiator steam heating system. The antiquated but functional heating source however cannot provide climate-controlled temperatures needed to house the museum’s one million artifacts and documents, Luchsinger said.
The collection, whose items were donated by families from across the nation, range from toys and clothes to letters and official government documents. The collection is being kept in Maryland until a restoration project is completed.
“We have well over one million pictures, papers, clothes that people wore, pot and pans and special musical instruments that the immigrants brought with them,” said Luchsinger, who expected the collection to be returned by the spring.