The Ellis Island Restoration Commission was founded in 1976 for the purpose of establishing and emphasizing the central and important role that Ellis Island, and the flood of immigration through its doors, has played in the growth of our nation, and the development of our uniquely American culture of diversity and tolerance.

     Historically, our organization pioneered the idea of restoring Ellis Island as a museum to commemorate its historic significance.  Our organization has operated quietly and effectively behind the scenes, focusing its efforts on persuasion and planning through communications with key officials in Washington, and with National Park Service personnel.  Our efforts initially were to raise the consciousness of elected officials about the need to protect and preserve Ellis Island’s immigration facilities and use them to document, and present to the public, the immigration story.  Later, the Commission’s efforts went toward identifying, preserving and fostering a structure to disseminate immigration records and ships' manifests.  Most recently, the Commission has sought to enhance the operations of the Oral History Center at the Ellis Island Museum.

     Our organization remains, as it always has been, a non-profit Commission working in harmony with government agencies involved in management and operations at Ellis Island, and operated by a core group of unpaid volunteers who have the best interests in mind of protecting and enhancing the importance of Ellis Island, and the immigration story it represents, to the American public.
  The Ellis Island Restoration Commission announced that its efforts to name the Library at Ellis Island after Bob Hope came to fruition on November 24. Bob Hope, one of the nation’s most known and beloved movie and television stars, and also known for his tireless tours to entertain U.S. servicemen and women, immigrated to the U.S. and passed through Ellis Island’s immigration facilities in 1908. He passed away in California in 2003 at the age of 100.

The Bob Hope Memorial Library and a temporary exhibit were announced on November 24, 2008. A permanent exhibition will open in the spring of 2009. This recognition of Bob Hope at Ellis Island, a U.S. National Monument under the auspices of the National Park Service, required an act of Congress. Determined efforts of the Ellis Island Restoration Commission over the past several years resulted in Congressional passage of the enabling legislation signed by the President on May 8, 2008.

The Bob Hope Memorial Library, with the temporary exhibition, is located on the third floor of the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
  IN MEMORIUM - PHIL LAX, 1920-2012
Phil Lax, who had served as President of the Ellis Island Restoration Commission for more than 30 years, passed away in April of 2012 at age 91. He was born April 22, 1920 in Newark, New Jersey to Beckie and Nathan Lax , immigrants from Eastern Europe, graduated with a B.S. from New York University, and made a career in interior design that evolved into real estate development and management.
Read his full obituary here.