Nearly a year after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New York City, Ellis Island reopened on Monday. The Guardian reported that the hurricane swamped boilers and electrical systems, leaving the 27.5 acre island without power for months.
The Ellis Island Immigration Museum is home to more than a million documents, photographs, and other artifacts documenting the stories of the millions of immigrants who have passed through Ellis Island to begin new lives in the United States. Much of the museum’s collection made it through the hurricane unscathed, but were later moved to a different location as maintaing the necessary climate controlled environment for preservation became impossible.
While the halls and buildings of Ellis Island are reopening on Monday, artifacts from the museum will remain in a temporary storage facility in Maryland. Officials are unable to estimate exactly when the artifacts will be returned to the museum as there is still significant work to be done to upgrade and repair buildings on the island and prepare them should another destructive storm come along.
The Ellis Island superintendent, David Luchsinger, has estimated that the cost of repairing Ellis Island will be $21 million in total and all repairs will hopefully be finished in the next 18 months, after which the artifacts can be returned to the museum.