A letter from our president, Janis Calella

A letter from our president, Janis Calella


Dear Friend,

I’m delighted to send this update on our progress to restore the historic buildings on Ellis Island.

This has been an exceptional year for us as we continue to bring back to life these extraordinary buildings and the stories they hold of our past.

With the completion of each project, I think of every person who has followed our progress since we began our work many years ago. It’s because of you and others like you that we are able to continue to restore and reopen All of Ellis Island. Your names may not be engraved on a building or a wall but they are engraved in the very heart and soul of this project.

With your help, in 2016 we completed the restoration of the historic Hospital Laundry Building – The oldest building on the south side of Ellis Island was once used to wash and disinfect over 3000 pieces of hospital laundry daily. Participants of our Hard Hat Tours can see the original laundry equipment still in place on the first floor of the building. A portion of the building now serves as leased office space and the education department for our many programs.

We added new programs for children and adults and increased the number of tours we conduct as part of our public programs. Save Ellis Island provides an array of inspiring and evocative programs for both children and adults in American history, immigration, art, literature and science. This year we partnered with Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and PreservationThe Historic Preservation Program prepares leaders to address the great challenges of protecting the world’s architectural, cultural, and historical heritage in the face of profound change. In this undergraduate program, future leaders in these fields learn how to address the world’s architectural, cultural and historical heritage in the face of profound change.

Our lecture series continues – Jamie Lee Curtis, famous actress and children’s book author, chose to debut her latest book with Save Ellis Island after she learned of the work we are doing to preserve this important part of our American history. As part of our giving back to the community, the event was attended by fourth grade students of a local school and arranged and paid for by Save Ellis Island.

Our new project for 2017 is the restoration of the Outdoor Recreation Pavilion and lawn space in the center of the hospital complex. All of the proceeds raised through the end of December 2016 will be used to match a grant in hand for this restoration to be completed in 2017.

This is a very important restoration campaign, the result of which will be used to create a space for indoor and outdoor cultural and musical events open to the public. Once again, we appeal to your generosity to help us build on the momentum we created this year and continue our work to restore and bring back to life a historic landmark to a new and useful purpose.

These buildings hold the stories of every soul that passed through them and with your help they will now have new stories to tell.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter and for your continued support.


Janis Calella
Save Ellis Island