Tonight is the housewarming party, so to speak, for the Tenement Museum's new apartment and the opening of its first tour since 2002. This one is titled, The Moores: An Irish Family in America. They tell us that "it’s taken about 6 years from concept to completion for this particular project. That includes research, planning, fundraising, designing, bringing the upper floors up to code, purchasing artifacts for the apartment, developing content."
Like their other apartments, this one tells the story of a family who actually lived at 97 Orchard Street. The Moore family (Bridget, Joseph, and their three young daughters) resided there in 1869, and were one of only a few Irish families living in a predominantly German neighborhood.
The Moores faced a shattering health crisis: the loss of their daughter Agnes to a malnutrition-related disease. Building on the Moores’ experience, the tour discusses the changing attitudes towards medicine and public health care in the 19th and early 20th centuries, relating how our city has become a healthier place and how immigrants today work to keep their families healthy.
This is the museum’s sixth restored apartment and its fourth public building tour; take a look as some before and after pictures of the renovation below (more at the museum's Flickr page). The NY Times notes that "None of the original furnishings have survived. In fact, when museum researchers contacted a few descendants of one of the Moores’ daughters, Jane, they learned that the family did not even know their ancestors had ever lived at 97 Orchard Street."
Tours begin today (and run Tues-Fri at 12, 1:30, 3, & 4:30, Weekends at 11, 12:30, 2, 3:30, & 5). Learn more about the Moore family after their jump.
Joseph Moore left Dublin in 1865 at the age of 20; his future wife, Bridget, was just 17 when she arrived alone in New York in 1863. By 1869, the couple and their three daughters were living in 97 Orchard Street, which was primarily inhabited by German and Irish immigrants. In April of that year, the Moores’ sickly third daughter, Agnes, died of a form of malnutrition at the age of ten months. Unfortunately, this was not an unusual occurrence among immigrant households: in 1865, the children of immigrant parents died at nearly ten times the rate of native born.
The election of 1869 was one of the last under Boss Tweed, head of the infamous, Irish-dominated Tammany Hall political machine. Like the Tweed ring, the fortunes of Joseph and Bridget fell the following year: they moved to Elizabeth Street, in a more destitute part of the Lower East Side. Of the couple’s eight children, only four survived into adulthood. Their daughter Jane Moore married and moved to Queens, and today her descendents live across the country, including great-grandsons with the FDNY and NYPD.