Galveston Historic Seaport – Ship To Shore – An Immersive Immigration Experience – Living Texas History, Galveston, Texas

Our Living Texas History series is all about highlighting places across Texas where parents and kids alike can learn about Texas history in a hands on way. All 4th and 7th graders in Texas are required to take Texas history. Now that we homeschool we wanted to take a little bit different approach. Learning our history teaches us about our past. It gives us perspective on where we came from and helps us to keep from making the same mistakes. We feel hands on history; seeing the places talked about in books, hearing the stories, walking the same roads, experiencing the same smells and sites, helps us grasp our history even better.

Galveston Immigration - Early 1900s

Ellis Island is known as THE immigration port for immigrants entering the United States, but few stories are told about Galveston’s vast immigration history. Known as “The Ellis Island of The West”, Galveston processed nearly 50,000 immigrants between 1906-1914.

Ship To Shore - Galveston Historic Seaport

The Ship To Shore exhibit at the Galveston Historic Seaport was a delightful surprise and immersive immigration experience which highlights what it was truly like to immigrate to the US through Galveston. I honestly have never been to a museum quite like this one.

Texas History Galveston Historical Society Ship To Shore Museum Immigration

Ship To Shore brings to life the challenges on immigration in the early 20th century by having you enter the exhibit as an immigrant yourself. You are given a QR code which you scan at the very start and create your immigrant character. The OR code is used throughout the entire experience to activate videos, and log your character through the boat journey, immigration at the port and on through historic areas of Galveston.

Galveston Historical Foundation’s Galveston Historic Seaport, Ship To Shore, Texas History
Galveston Historical Foundation’s Galveston Historic Seaport, Ship To Shore, Texas History

Interactive videos and projections have actors dressed in period clothes, telling the stories of real immigrants of the time. Portholes have videos playing of what it might have looked like when a traveler looked outside. The room is filled with the sounds you might hear at the bottom of the ship, deckhands yelling, children crying, the sound of the ocean.

Galveston Historical Foundation’s Galveston Historic Seaport, Ship To Shore, Texas History
Galveston Historical Foundation’s Galveston Historic Seaport, Ship To Shore, Texas History
Galveston Historical Foundation’s Galveston Historic Seaport, Ship To Shore, Texas History

Below deck you can explore the sleeping quarters, galley, and even the head (the ship’s toilet). Just past the galley is period clothing where you can all dress the part for a family photo. Next you enter customs and immigration where you find out if you will actually be allowed entrance to the United States or be denied and forced to ride the long journey back home. Once you enter the port you have the chance to explore historical buildings of the time and meet real people like Bettie Brown who was a supporter of women’s suffrage and Julia Cornell, a nanny to the Gresham children.

Galveston Immigration History - Galley
Galveston Immigration History - Galley

When you’re journey is complete, leave a digital message in a bottle by searching the immigration database or leaving a message about your own family’s immigration journey.

All of us, kids, parents and grandparents LOVED this museum. It’s not huge, but it offers loads to hear, do and learn and we highly recommend it for anyone wanting to better understand immigration in the early 1900s in the United States.

Ship to Shore | Location, Tickets, and More

We suggest visiting during the day, we had the museum all to ourselves which made for a great time. It's also air conditioned so do a tour of the Elissa or another outdoor excursion and cool off at the Ship to Shore experience.

The Ship to Shore Museum is located at 2200 Harborside Dr, Galveston, TX 77550, near pier 21.

Open Daily from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (last ticket sold at 4 p.m.)

Admission: Admission: Adult – $20 | Youth (6-18) – $16.00 | Children (5 & Under) – Free

For more information, and to purchase tickets online visit

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Living Texas History Ship To Shore Immigration Museum - Galveston Texas

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