Ellis Island is an interesting case study when discussing the American collective memory. Collective memory often refers to how a group of people remember something.1 In this case, we are discussing how the American people remember a certain national event or place and attach that memory to the national identity. Those memories of specific events and places shape how Americans view themselves and their country in the greater sphere of the world. There are very few places that exist in the United States in which so many Americans share a meaningful and often direct connection to as they do with Ellis Island. Few other places can claim such a hold on millions of descendants of Americans within the last century. As a public history space, Ellis Island also embodies the ideals of the “American Dream” and our identity as a nation of immigrants. At the same time, this identity is often collectively ignored in recent decades of political conversations. This personal and collective memory is what makes studying Ellis Island and preserving it so important. Continue reading “Ellis Island: The American Experience”