New Tenement Museum Exhibit “Shop Life” to Begin Construction Monday

Posted on: February 9th, 2012 at 6:28 am by

With one new monthly tour in its collective pocket, the Tenement Museum is ready to embark on its latest venture at 97 Orchard Street. Dubbed “Shop Life,” the exhibit explores the immigrant entrepreneurs who operated businesses at this address in the 19th and 20th centuries.

According to press materials released yesterday afternoon, construction and assembly will officially begin next Monday, and last roughly six months.  Completion date is currently set at the ambiguous “fall 2012.” “Shop Life” is the first new exhibit at the museum since 2008.

Located on the building’s street level, “Shop Life” will tell the stories of the many immigrant entrepreneurs who earned their livelihoods through small businesses at 97 Orchard. The exhibit will span more than 100 years and will feature a re-created 19th century German beer saloon, as well as a partially restored commercial space featuring a re-created sales counter with interactive audio and video clips exploring historic businesses, including Israel Lustgarten’s 1890s kosher butcher store, Max Marcus’ 1930s auction house and Sidney Meda’s 1970s undergarment store.

The exhibit will extend the Museum’s historical timeline, which currently ends with the eviction of residential tenants from 97 Orchard Street in 1935. Through the stories of the commercial tenants who remained in the building after that date, “Shop Life” will explore the extraordinary cultural changes which took place during and after World War II.

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