The island was used by the immigration department of the United States, and through here about 12 million immigrants passed, on their way to New York, at the end of the 19th century and towards the beginning of the 20th century. Back then, 98% were allowed to enter the United States, and about 2% were returned to their home countries.
The process of immigrating to the United States took about half a day - it began with a medical exam (to ensure that whoever entered was healthy and not bringing in any disease or illnesses), afterwards, a personal interview where immigrants had to explain their reasons for coming to America. Stories tell that back then the immigration building was neglected, and the police force scared the immigrants.
The interactive museum has documents, photos, videos and even theater pieces. There is a monument where 420,000 families of immigrants were commemorated.