Welcome to the website of Kasigarda

Museum of Emigration from Slovakia to North America.

State Emigrant Landing Depot, Castle Garden, New York, 1861. Source: The New York Public Library, The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection.

Emigration is an essential part of Slovak history. It is unbelievable that a third of the Slovak nation emigrated from the last quarter of the 19th century until 1968 without any reflection in Slovak historiography.
We in Slovakia have simply forgotten about our compatriots in America, just as they mostly have forgotten about us. As economic woes racked Slovakia, the country was caught up in an American fever. Almost 1.3 million Slovaks endured long voyages and culture
shock to find prosperity and freedom in the “promised land.” For Slovak Americans, the Museum of Emigration will offer powerful insights and artifacts into the lives of Slovaks who sought refuge in North America in the late 19th and early 20th century.

Immigrants upon arrival in Ellis Island. Source: Ellis Island Museum

We know very little about why our grandfathers left their families and went to the unknown world. We have no idea how difficult it must have been for the first generation of immigrants to America. No knowledge of the language, manners, just a great desire to
work. The name of the Museum – Kasigarda is a Slovak crumb of the English Castle Garden, the main gate of the immigration office in New York, which every immigrant had to go through. “Kasigarda” accurately reflects the phenomenon of emigration. Illiteracy, ignorance of language, hardship, stress, disappointment, but above all the hope that Kasigard represented for many of our ancestors.

Slovak woman with child, Ellis Island. Source: The Public Domain Review

My family is also marked by emigration. My great-grandfather left Ťahyňa for work with his wife, leaving at home a young son, my grandfather, whom they had seen 20 years later. These people deserve our respect, and, above all, they deserve our knowledge.
So that their difficult life in America will not be forgotten. It was this ignorance of my own history that led me to the idea of setting up the Museum of Emigration.

Young Slovak woman in Ellis Island, 1905. Source: Postcard from 1905. Photo: Lewis W. Hine

The Museum of Emigration from Slovakia to North America – Kasigard would not have been established without the selfless help of sponsors, donors and supporters from both overseas and Slovakia. Kasigard was supported by:

Daniel Harajda , Ralph Rack , Victor Pavone , Bob Senich , Audrey Wagner Cunfer , Amy Marcincak , Maryann Sivak , Austin Cherry , Jerome Paul , Kathrin Condit , Donald Madar , Milan Javor , Vladimír Kačo , Marianna Bosková , Jana Tkáčová , Michal Tkáč , Alexandra Šabľová , Marián Gežo , Štefan Raffáč , Ján Ivanko , Milan Mihalik , Miloš Balog , Ján Marušin , Rastislav Mochnacký , Drahomira Harajda , Gabriel Kačo , Michal Rázus , Ing. Štefan Máthé , Richard Palaschak , Helen Fedor , Thomas Stayancho , Karen A. Melis , Jamila Smitková , Miriam Farkašová , Stanislav Šimčík , Milan Kobulský, Ján Lenčeš, Milan Ladyka, James Yavorsky , Carpatho-Rusyn Society , Czechoslovak Genealogical Society International , Slovak American Society of Washinton DC and Obec Pavlovce nad Uhom.

Everyone deserves a big THANK YOU!
doc. PhDr. Martin Javor, PhD.

Lunch on top of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in Manhattan, New York City, NY. First message Slovak Gusti Popovič, who sent his wife a postcard with this photograph, on which he wrote: Don’t worry, my dear Mariska, as you can see, I’m still with a bottle. “