Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're on TV!

We often get requests to film at the Tenement Museum. Usually we host news or documentary shows that want to feature the Museum or discuss life for immigrant and working-class people around the turn of the century.

For instance, the History Detectives filmed an interview with historian Daniel Sawyer in 97 Orchard Street's first floor parlor for a show dealing with Jewish immigration. A pending program about water and sanitation for the History Channel used our rear yard to illustrate conditions for the average urban resident in 1870.

My favorite pieces, of course, are those that deal with the Museum's history and mission. Here's a segment that aired recently (Provided by Time Warner Cable Staten Island):

Here's another one that I particularly like (and not because I'm in it!). We filmed this early on a winter morning last year and were able to get some beautiful shots. The host was so engaged with the stories that we tell and clearly loved being at the Museum (there are also segments on Lower East Side standbys Katz's, Russ & Daughters, and Economy Candy on YouTube).

Sometimes a production company will use our space as representative of someone else's life entirely. Earlier this year a British crew came to the Museum for a documentary about Jack the Ripper. After they filmed a series of interviews in the apartments and hallways, we had to turn off all the lights so the "investigator" (actual former cold-case cop Ed Norris) could shine his flashlight around an eerily-dark 97 Orchard.

Last night we used the Baldizzi apartment as a stand-in for where Andy Warhol lived in Pittsburgh. He was the son of Slovak immigrants and grew up in a working-class neighborhood in the 1930s & 40s. Although we carefully create our exhibit spaces to represent the world of one particular family, to a production crew, we're a ready-made set that can be adapted to their needs. This particular group even wanted to bring acting cats in (apparently the Warholas had a lot and they inspired Andy's cat artwork) but that fell through (apparently acting cats are expensive!).

- Posted by Kate Stober


  1. I find your blog most interesting, especially the stories about all the film crews that find the museum a perfect backdrop for movies. The YouTube clips were also a nice addition. All in all, your Web site is very inviting and I feel as though I have already visited the museum.

    Victoria Emmons

  2. I'm watching right now on WETA 26, PBS in Washington, DC. Fascinating!


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