Bella Epstein Seligsohn can still smell the fish boiling. Alison Wong remembers playing in the air shaft with her siblings. José Velez was the superintendent, and to this day curses the roof for always leaking.

They were residents of the tenement at 103 Orchard Street, and their memories inform an exhibition set to open next summer in their old apartment building at the Tenement Museum on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

Their families all came to New York in the decades after World War II, an often overlooked period of United States immigration and migration. The Wongs were the last to leave when the museum moved them out just two years ago — meaning the history here is very much still alive.

This is the most modern period the museum has covered, said Annie Polland, the museum’s senior vice president for programs and education. “People think of the Lower East Side in 1900 and they think about it today with bars and art galleries,” she said. “We’re showing these decades that no one’s talked about and yet were so important for so many people.”

[…] The museum bought the building in 2007, first renovating the lower floors. Construction on the exhibition began this summer on the second floor, above the museum’s gift shop. Residents know the building, which was built in 1888 and had 15 apartments, by the address of its side entrance — 81 Delancey Street.
 “Me and my mom, we are excited to see what’s going to happen — with the new roof and the way they’re going to make it,” Ms. Wong, 51, said recently at the museum’s offices.

How the museum’s educators will structure the three parts of the exhibition, which will take up one floor, is very much a work in progress. The museum recently posted a multimedia project on its website as a preview to the exhibition.

Continue reading on the NY Times.

Read more from the project’s website.

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