A new 26,000-square-foot Statue of Liberty Museum within the Statue of Liberty National Monument on New York's Liberty Island was unveiled Thursday.
The larger building will replace a small exhibition space inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
Architect Nicholas Garrison designed the new glass, granite and concrete structure, with a grass-covered roof, to blend into the landscape, while taking in the views of New York Harbor and the famous copper statue.
Currently, only about 20% of visitors to Liberty Island are able to explore the tiny museum inside the Statue of Liberty. The remaining visitors to the island visit only the grounds, according to the National Park Service.
Plans unveiled by officicals at the groundbreaking ceremony on Liberty Island set the completion date of the new museum at 2019.
About 4.3 million visitors visit the Statue of Liberty each year.
EDSI Design will create the exhibition space which will include a large mural of 50 star sculptures evocative of the American flag at the entrance. Galleries will host a virtual flyover of the statue’s interior, exhibits on the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and the history of the statue, from its gifting from France to the American people to its evolution as an icon of freedom and democracy. The Inspiration Gallery will hold the original torch.
"The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World" was dedicated on October 28, 1886, and became a National Monument in 1924. In 1933, it became administered by the National Park Service.