Our Mission

The Lazaretto historic site, which has been called “the original Ellis Island,” is a Philadelphia treasure which tells the story of the first century of our nation’s efforts to protect public health while accommodating large numbers of immigrants. The site combines unmatched historical significance with architectural beauty and a striking riverfront setting. We propose to restore the Lazaretto buildings and grounds in order to create a dynamic destination where locals and tourists alike can encounter the importance of immigration and public health in the American experience. We envision interactive exhibits and installations both permanent and temporary, accompanied by research resources and enlivened by periodic artistic events and public forums on immigration and public health in the twenty-first century. We will also incorporate community meeting space and abundant outdoor recreational opportunities into the everyday life of the Lazaretto, making the site a frequent destination for a diverse array of visitors.