On this tour, we’ll visit the recreated homes of the Saez Velezes and Wongs, two families who moved to New York and became neighbors in a Lower East Side tenement in the 1960s and 70s. Both Mrs. Saez and Mrs. Wong worked in the garment industry for decades, shaping American women’s fashion through their skills, and supporting their families and communities through their membership in the International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union. Through oral histories and videos, you’ll hear directly from family and community members to learn about their stories and honor their place in history.
The program title references the book Sewing Women by Margaret Chin, Professor of Sociology at Hunter College, whose research informed this tour.
About the Tenement Museum
The Tenement Museum tells the stories of working-class tenement residents who moved to New York City from other countries and other parts of the country between the 1860s and the 1980s. While textbooks often overlook the stories of ordinary people, Tenement Museum tours immerse visitors in the tenement hallways, kitchens, and parlors where families carved out new lives. Visitors can view restored apartments from the 19th and 20th centuries and walk the historic neighborhood to learn the stories of generations of immigrants and migrants who helped shape the American experience. The museum is available by guided tour only. Each tour focuses on a specific theme and takes visitors to different areas of our two historic tenement buildings or neighborhood. The Museum also offers public programs, curricula, and a digital crowdsourced exhibit, Your Story Our Story to continue the conversation, using our stories as points of departure to connect the past to present.