Mental Floss

Inside the Walls of New York’s Tenement Museum

Caitlin Schneider

What’s hiding in the walls of your apartment? If it’s anything like 97 Orchard Street, probably some beer cans, a Ouija board, a couple of doll heads, and some mummified rats.

The Tenement Museum recently gave Gothamist a rare peek at the collection of items that have been found in the floors and walls of the building over the course of decades. They’re part of a private collection and not on display to the public.

The Lower East Side five-story property on Orchard was built in 1863, and is now a National Historic site. Its three-room, 325 square foot apartments housed a total of around 7,000 people until it closed in 1935. The recovered items are a strange and fascinating glimpse into those many lives.

To see photos of the found objects of past New Yorkers click here.