Clothes hanging out the window of tenements in New York in the 1800s.

Food Historian and Tenement Museum Educator will discuss what domestic life was like for immigrant families in 19th century New York

"In the Irish Tenement Kitchen”, a lecture by Food Historian and Museum Educator at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, will be held at Quinnipiac University, as part of the celebrations for the fifth anniversary of Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum.

Lohman will discuss what domestic life was like for immigrant families who lived in the tenement buildings of the Lower East Side, in Manhattan.

Tenements emerged in New York City in the 19th century and play an important role in the history of the 19th-century Irish immigrant experience.

At the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, in the Lower East Side, in Manhattan, a tenement building has been restored on Orchard Street. Each floor of the building is dedicated to a different immigrant family from a different era of New York’s history.

Immigrants lodging in a tenement in the 1900s.

Immigrants lodging in a tenement in the 1900s.

The Moores on Orchard St, Manhattan

One of the featured families, at the center of the museum’s “Irish Outsiders” tour, are Joseph and Bridget Moore. Their situation illustrates just how fascinating a topic Lohman’s lecture could be.

The Irish Outsiders tour brings you through the restored home of the Moore family Irish-Catholic immigrants coping with the death of a child in 1869. The tour told the story of the Moore’s struggle to keep their family healthy compared to that of the Katz family who were Russian-Jewish immigrants that left their ‘mark’ on the building in the 1930s.

The tour tells the story of the Moore family had to figure out a way to live despite the very little income they earned, what they had to do to get by and how they struggled to keep their family healthy in the small living conditions they had.

Joseph and Bridget Moore moved into the 97 Orchard Street building in 1869 with their children. Bridget, a domestic maid, was only 17 years old when she got married in 1965 and a few years later immigrated to America with her husband Joseph Moore, a waiter.

Sixty-Five Monk Street was their first apartment which smelled so bad that they moved to Orchard Street with their three daughters. At the museum, you are told of the family’s struggle to survive even when their baby daughter Agnes died from starvation. The Tenement Museum recreates the scene and you are brought into the front room of the Moore family’s apartment and sad/slow music begins to play.

According to an IrishCentral reporter “There a very few windows and no lighting in the apartment, there is just candles and it gets very dark. You can be a little freaked out by the music and darkness in the front room.  However, this was a great experience and it just shows you how the Moore family had to live all those years ago.”

Food historian takes on 1800s New York

Apart from being the Museum Educator at the Tenement Museum Lohman’s background as a Food Historian makes her an ideal candidate for this lecture.  For a week in 2009, Lohman ate like a tenement dweller by following the 1877 pamphlet titled “Fifteen Cent Dinners.” She also lived as a 19th-century Irish maid for a day.

The "Fifteen Cent Dinners" contents page.

The "Fifteen Cent Dinners" contents page.

Lohman also will sign her book, “Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine,” which explores the unique culinary history of America and how immigrant groups shaped the way Americans eat today.

Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University is home to the world's largest collection of visual art, artifacts and printed materials relating to the Irish Famine. The museum preserves builds and presents its art collection to stimulate reflection, inspire imagination and advance awareness of Ireland's Great Hunger and its long aftermath on both sides of the Atlantic.

Works by noted contemporary Irish artists are featured at the museum including internationally known sculptors John Behan, Rowan Gillespie and Éamonn O'Doherty; as well as contemporary visual artists, Robert Ballagh, Alanna O'Kelly, Brian Maguire and Hughie O'Donoghue. Featured paintings include several important 19th and 20th‐century works by artists such as James Brenan, Daniel Macdonald, James Arthur O'Connor and Jack B. Yeats.

Lohman will present the lecture, “In the Irish Tenement Kitchen,” at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct 10, in the auditorium of the Center for Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences at Quinnipiac University. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required at ighm.org.