The museum, located in the main building of the former immigration station complex, tells the American tales of the 12 million immigrants who entered the country through the golden door of Ellis Island. A 45-minute audio tour, available in nine languages, and park ranger-guided tours invite visitors to relive the immigrant experience as if they were the "new arrival." Self-guided exhibits include artifacts, photographs, prints, videos, interactive displays, oral histories and temporary exhibits. In the continuously screened documentary film Island of Hope, Island of Tears, immigrants talk about their experiences at Ellis Island. Brochures, movie tickets, tour schedules and exhibit information can be found at the Information Desk in the museum’s Baggage Room.

Opened in 2001, the American Family Immigration History Center provides visitors with computer and multimedia technology, printed materials and professional assistance for investigating immigration history, family documentation and genealogical exploration. Overlooking the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline, the American Immigrant Wall of Honor display pays tribute to America’s rich cultural heritage and contains more than 700,000 names inscribed for posterity by family members and friends.