National Archives at Atlanta Opens Ellis Island Immigration Exhibit July 21
Press Release · Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Atlanta, GA

"Ellis Island: The Lost Mural" Exhibit Recreates WPA Project

On Saturday, July 21, 2012, the National Archives at Atlanta will open a new exhibit titled “Ellis Island: The Lost Mural.” The exhibit features a replica of a 1938 Works Progress Administration (WPA) mural from the Ellis Island immigrants’ dining hall.

The exhibit also includes portraits of famous immigrants and immigration-themed documents from the holdings of the National Archives. Featured immigrants include Alfred Hitchcock, Greta Garbo, Frank Capra, Erroll Flynn, Albert Einstein, Bob Hope, Stan Laurel, Greta Garbo, Werner Von Braun, Harry Houdini, Enrico Fermi, Desi Arnaz, Elizabeth Taylor, Irving Berlin, Charlie Chaplin, Ceila Cruz, Alexander Graham Bell and Rudolph Valentino.

A related all-day genealogy records workshop will be held on Saturday, August 25. The exhibit, which is free and open to the public, runs through December 31, 2012.

About the mural:

The original Ellis Island mural, titled “The Role of the Immigrant in the Industrial Development in America,” was commissioned in 1938 by the New Deal Federal Art Project, part of the WPA. Painted by muralist Edward Laning, the eight-panel mural was displayed in “Aliens’ Dining Hall” and showcased the founding and building of America by pioneers from different countries. It measured 10 feet tall by 190 feet long.

The original mural has been called the “Ellis Island Lost Mural” due to years of damage and deterioration starting in 1954, when Ellis Island officially closed and the building was abandoned. It was damaged further in 1958 when the building’s roof collapsed during a storm.

About the replica:

In 2003, artist and muralist Andrew Sabori visited Ellis Island to learn more about the original mural. He subsequently uncovered a photograph of the original and decided to recreate it. The replica mural, completed in 2008, consists of 19 panels and measures five feet tall by 90 feet long.

Related Program: Records Workshop

Saturday, August 25th, 2012, 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
John Philip Colletta, genealogist and lecturer, will lead an all-day workshop on using Federal records—including passenger arrival lists and naturalization records—for genealogy research. There is a $20 fee for workshop materials.

For more information, contact Mary Evelyn Tomlin at 770-968-2555 or

To schedule a school group tour, contact Joel Walker at 770-968-2530 or

The National Archives at Atlanta is home to more than 200,000 cubic feet of historical records dating from the early 1700s to the 1990s created or received by Federal agencies. Serving the Southeast region, the archives holds records from the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Caroline, Tennessee, and Kentucky. All records are available for public access. The facility is located at 5780 Jonesboro Road, Morrow, GA 30260. It is open to the public Tuesday–Saturday, 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., for research and viewing exhibits. For more information, call 770-968-2500 or visit [].

The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that preserves and shares with the public records that trace the story of our nation, government, and the American people. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives, as the nation’s record keeper, holds one of the world's largest moving image repositories, with more than 360,000 reels of motion picture film titles. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet [].

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs Staff at 202-357-5300.

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