Under One Roof

Tenement Museum

Following the Tenement Museum’s tradition of bringing the story of immigration to life through the lens of real people, Under One Roof describes the experiences of three families who lived and worked in New York’s Lower East Side.

Walking through apartments expertly restored by the Museum’s team, visitors step into the homes of the Epstein, Saez-Velez, and Wong families. Along the way visitors learn about each family’s experiences as newcomers to the United States and their involvement in New York’s once booming garment industry.

Overview

  • 11 interactive props activated by visitors’ touch
  • Custom props and digital recreations of analog tools

Credits

  • Potion
    Concept Design & Development
    Graphic & Interactive Design
    Motion Graphics Animation
    Software Development
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum
    Exhibit Design & Content
  • Liberty CNC
    Prop Fabrication
  • Connect Interactives
    Electronics Design & Management
  • Linear Media
    Meerkat
  • Masque Sound
    AV Integration
  • Jeremy Bloom
    Sound Design & Show Control

The tour begins in the Epstein home, Holocaust survivors who came to 103 Orchard in the 1950s. On Bella Epstein’s desk in her pink bedroom sits a record player. When the tour guide turns on the player, Bella herself recalls the Paul Anka song that made her feel like an American. Next in the Saez-Velez living room, visitors sit on their plastic-covered sofas and watch Jose Velez on a large TV in the corner describe the few Spanish channels available in the 1960s.

The tour concludes with the Wong family and a visit to a recreated garment shop, made to look like those common to Chinatown in the 1980s. Within the garment shop, visitors have the opportunity to explore and interact with the objects around the room. Visitors are invited to sit at one of six sewing machines in the center of the room. When visitors touch a machine, a video plays on the surface of the machine. The video describes different aspects of life in the garment shop, like how pricking your finger with a needle was seen as a rite of passage. In the corner, three toys rest on top of a garment cutting table. When visitors touch each toy, they hear Thomas Yu describe his experiences playing hide and seek in the garment shop after school while his mom worked. In an opposite corner, a rice cooker surrounded by bowls sits on a small table. After touching any of these objects, visitors hear about the “water-cooler” role these rice cookers had and the social conversations that happened around them.

As visitors exit the garment factory, a photo is projected on the wall. The recent photo shows members of the Epstein, Saez-Velez, and Wong families standing together, demonstrating that the story of immigration is one that affect a diverse range of people and is still being written today.

Taking a cue from the Tenement Museum’s place-based approach to storytelling, Potion created an experience where regular people, and the objects that populate their lives, help to illuminate larger trends in immigration and industry in New York and beyond.

The tour begins in the Epstein home, Holocaust survivors who came to 103 Orchard in the 1950s. On Bella Epstein’s desk in her pink bedroom sits a record player. When the tour guide turns on the player, Bella herself recalls the Paul Anka song that made her feel like an American. Next in the Saez-Velez living room, visitors sit on their plastic-covered sofas and watch Jose Velez on a large TV in the corner describe the few Spanish channels available in the 1960s.

The tour concludes with the Wong family and a visit to a recreated garment shop, made to look like those common to Chinatown in the 1980s. Within the garment shop, visitors have the opportunity to explore and interact with the objects around the room. Visitors are invited to sit at one of six sewing machines in the center of the room. When visitors touch a machine, a video plays on the surface of the machine. The video describes different aspects of life in the garment shop, like how pricking your finger with a needle was seen as a rite of passage. In the corner, three toys rest on top of a garment cutting table. When visitors touch each toy, they hear Thomas Yu describe his experiences playing hide and seek in the garment shop after school while his mom worked. In an opposite corner, a rice cooker surrounded by bowls sits on a small table. After touching any of these objects, visitors hear about the “water-cooler” role these rice cookers had and the social conversations that happened around them.

As visitors exit the garment factory, a photo is projected on the wall. The recent photo shows members of the Epstein, Saez-Velez, and Wong families standing together, demonstrating that the story of immigration is one that affect a diverse range of people and is still being written today.

Taking a cue from the Tenement Museum’s place-based approach to storytelling, Potion created an experience where regular people, and the objects that populate their lives, help to illuminate larger trends in immigration and industry in New York and beyond.

Credits

  • Potion
    Concept Design & Development
    Graphic & Interactive Design
    Motion Graphics Animation
    Software Development
  • Lower East Side Tenement Museum
    Exhibit Design & Content
  • Liberty CNC
    Prop Fabrication
  • Connect Interactives
    Electronics Design & Management
  • Linear Media
    Meerkat
  • Masque Sound
    AV Integration
  • Jeremy Bloom
    Sound Design & Show Control