Follow us!

Lower East Side Historical Exhibit Opens at Henry Street Settlement

Lower East Side Historical Exhibit Opens at Henry Street Settlement

This exhibit will teach kids and adults about Lower East Side history.

The Henry Street Settlement, located on the Lower East Side, recently opened an interactive exhibit that will teach children about NYC’s history during the time of early immigration. This exhibit will allow visitors to travel back in time to the year 1893 and observe 125 years of the Lower East Side’s history. Are you interested in learning more about history, politics and social activism, urban poverty, and public health? The permanent exhibit The House on Henry Street, which opened in September, is the place for you!

Today, Henry Street assists more than 50,000 New Yorkers annually, by providing social services, arts programs, and health care services to New Yorkers of all ages. Henry Street was originally founded when Lillian Wald, a nurse, followed a crying child through the streets to an unheated tenement. She found the child’s mother, who was abandoned by her doctor because the family couldn’t pay his fee, near death. The exhibit starts with the founding of Henry Street Settlement with a 6-minute video called “Baptism of Fire” that focuses on Wald’s story. “Elementary and middle school kids can appreciate it,” says Barbara Kancelbaum, deputy officer of marketing and communications at Henry Street.

An educational and interactive exhibit for all ages, visitors will be immersed into what the Lower East Side was like at the turn of the 20th century, when it was the most crowded neighborhood in the world. The exhibit features “windows” through which visitors can “see” typical street scenes from 1893. Photographs, videos, stories, and quotations will provide valuable historic takeaways on how reformers came together during the Progressive Era. An interactive element includes picking up a speaker to listen to stories that compliment pictures in the exhibit. Artifacts on display include a Henry Street guest book signed by Rosa Parks, Wald’s nurse badge, and a nurse’s bag from the turn of the 20th century.   

This exhibit teaches children about waves of early immigration, rapid industrialization, and urban crowding. The House on Henry Street traces the history of the Lower East Side and the settlement across six distinct areas, including immigrants’ arrival in America, the problems they faced, how those problems led to action, the legacy they left behind and more.

It is a thought-provoking exhibit that can teach children to be more aware of their current surroundings, contribute to change, and proceed to help others.

The exhibit is open Monday-Friday, 10am-6pm, and by appointment on evenings and weekends. Admission is free. The House on Henry Street is located at 265 Henry St. on the Lower East Side. For more information, visit or call 212-766-9200 x2257. 

More Family Activities Articles:

Activities for NYC Families with Children with Special Needs in October

We've gathered the best family-friendly events for children with special needs in New York City in October.

Latest News:

Candytopia Is Returning to NYC: Here’s What Families Will Love

Candytopia is a real-life Candy Land in NYC! With 24,000 square feet and 17 different interactive exhibits, it's sure to be your family's favorite swe...

Family Activities:

The Rink

Rockefeller Plaza Nov. 05, 2022 - Mar. 31, 2023

Don't miss this chance to ice skate under the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree- one of New York’s quintessential winter activities.

Have a Laugh:

Best Memes of the Week for Parents

Here are the funniest parenting memes from Instagram, Facebook, and Reddit this week.
Megan Vasquez

Author: Megan Vasquez, a junior at New York University pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Media, Culture and Communication, is a fall 2018 editorial intern at NYMetroParents. You can find her at the dog park with her chihuahua, making your favorite drinks as a Starbucks barista, or camping along the east coast. See More

Featured Listings:

Kate Tempesta's Urban Golf Academy

Kate Tempesta's Urban Golf Academy

Kate Tempesta’s Urban Golf Academy (UGA) brings golf to children as young as 3 years old! Check out their weekly programs in on the Upper East Side or...

Center for Architecture Summer Programs

Center for Architecture Summer Programs

New York, NY Summer Programs give curious kids an opportunity to dive into an architectural topic of interest and test out their own design ideas. Each program exp...

Camp Settoga

Camp Settoga

Pomona, Camp Settoga is a day camp located in Pomona, NY for ages 4-12 that combines traditional summer camp experiences with Jewish values, and a dynamic var...

Chelsea Piers Summer Sports Camp

Chelsea Piers Summer Sports Camp

Chelsea Piers Summer Camp in Chelsea and NOW Brooklyn, offers both Preschool and Full-Day camps where children can learn, play and have fun. With flex...