On Liberty Island in New York Harbor, under the gaze of the 151-ft-tall Statue of Liberty that atttacts 4.5 million visitors per year, a new museum takes on the history and variable meaning of liberty in the United States.
The 26,000-sf. Statue of Liberty Museum officially opened to the public last Thursday. Designed by FX Collaborative, three new exhibit spaces were created by ESI Design, and include the statue’s original torch. The museum is part of a $100 million Liberty Island beautification effort funded by non-profit The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
New displays detail how the gifted statue was intended by its French creators to commemorate the end of slavery in the U.S. The island marked the entry for some 12 million immigrants and their stories are told in recordings.
Also, noted is the fundraising effort of poet Emma Lazarus who wrote “The New Colossus” in 1883 to raise money for Lady Liberty's pedestal. Her words described the statue as welcoming the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
"America needs this museum and what it represents now more than ever,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said at the musem's dedication ceremony. “Immigration defines us, and New York is the ultimate city of immigrants. The Statue of Liberty represents our core values: We embrace diversity, support our neighbors and believe everyone should have a fair shot to live the American dream.”
Access to the museum is free with the purchase of a Statue Cruises ferry ticket to the island.