Dressing like an Ellis Island immigrant? Help me please?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teacherperson, Apr 8, 2017.

  1. teacherperson

    teacherperson Rookie

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    Apr 8, 2017

    I'm going to do an Ellis Island lesson. For part of it, I'm going to dress up like how an immigrant might have back then. But I'm having lots of trouble with finding clothes to wear for it. I know tying a scarf or cloth around my head would be a good idea, but as far as finding anything else, I'm completely lost. I've tried searching for "1900s dresses" and things like that but all I can find are the kinds of dresses rich women would wear. I've tried Goodwill and there's nothing. Where could I find decent early 20th century clothes for women?

    I did find lots of clothes that the men would wear though... If I can't find 20th century women's clothing, do you think it would be find to just dress like a man (I'm female)?
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Apr 8, 2017

    [​IMG]
    The woman on the left has a good outfit. Sturdy clothes, long skirt, long jacket or shirt on top, layers, boots.
     
  4. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    Apr 8, 2017

    You can check with a local college too. The one I grew up near would allow rentals of some of their costumes.
     
  5. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    [​IMG]
    The woman holding the basket here, and the woman next to her, also have outfits you could wear. She's got a scarf like you were talking about.
     
  6. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    Apr 8, 2017

    People coming through Ellis Island dressed in so many ways depending on when and from where they arrived. I would avoid dressing up because it feels inauthentic and possibly disrespectful.

    The Ellis Island website has so many resources and photos. Could you create a poster of the varying costumes worn?
     
  7. geoteacher

    geoteacher Habitué

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    Apr 8, 2017

    I don't see dressing authentically as a sign of disrespect, but rather part of a lesson designed to engage. I do agree with looking for ideas in the archives. It would be great if you could add to your lesson with information on why a certain type of clothing was worn.
     
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  8. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Apr 9, 2017

    It would also be good if you could tie it to a more specific story, such as someone that you read about in a primary source document or newspaper article.
     
  9. mrsammieb

    mrsammieb Devotee

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    Apr 10, 2017

    We had Immigration Day at my school too and it was SUPER FUN! I know this isn't exactly what you are asking but here is how we did it. Student's had to research their heritage or choose a culture to research. They then dressed like it on our special day. Teachers were the Immigration officers. We had parent volunteers in each room like they had at Ellis Island. We had a written exam, physical assessment, occupation questionnaire and a Welcome to America room. A lot of students wore scarves and long skirts with an apron. Many carried baskets or suitcases. As a teacher I wore like a business suit and tried to look like I was in uniform. As the students stood in line from room to room we would check their bags, take their things, if they talked or coughed we would send them to the back of the line. The kids LOVED it! We also ended the day with a food from your culture. It was so awesome. Many students said it was their favorite event because they really felt nervous and anxious not to have to go back to their "country". They really had to know their culture and not hesitate with answers.
     
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  10. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 11, 2017

    Do you have any ancestors you could tie it to? Get their passenger manifest from the Ellis Island website (My uncle coded the search engine for the site!) - maybe find a few census documents for them, look at where their neighbors came from - show how even though people immigrated to the US, they sometimes stayed near people from their country.
     
  11. showmelady

    showmelady Companion

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    Apr 29, 2017

    Try thrift stores, and maybe wear several outfits, because some immigrants wore more than one outfit because it was easier to WEAR the clothes than to PACK them. Like, maybe several skirts and a couple of blouses and sweaters. The old-fashioned shoes might be harder to find, but try the REALLY cheap thrift stores, the neighborhood church centers that may give away clothes.
     

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