Lower East Side Tenement Museum

97 Orchard Street, constructed in 1863, is the principal historic resource of the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. Vacated and sealed in 1935, the tenement was reopened in 1992 as a museum, chronicling the ordinary lives of several of the building’s prior occupants through restoration of their apartments.

The preservation and adaptive use of the building was predicated on retaining the palpable sense of history contained within its walls and providing safe public access. Commencing with interdisciplinary documentation and analyses, Li/Saltzman prepared a Historic Structures Report, Economic Feasibility Study, and Conservation Management Plan; developed phased Design and Construction Documents; and provided Construction Administration services over an 18 year period.

The project, iconic in its interpretive use of social history and preservation, has served as a model for other institutions’ adaptive use of historic properties. It is the first homestead of the urban working class and poor to be designated a National Historic Landmark. It is an Affiliated Area of the National Park System, a Historic Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the recipient of numerous awards, including the prestigious New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award.