NEW YORK — The Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island opened to the public May 16 following a dedication ceremony presented by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. and the National Park Service.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Chairman of the Board Albert Bellas and President and CEO Stephen Briganti, as well as campaign chairperson Diane von Furstenberg delivered remarks at the ceremony, which also included performances from Broadway stars and the Manhattan Girls Chorus.
“America needs this museum and what it represents now more than ever,” said de Blasio. “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.”
“Today, we share in the American people’s gratitude for this remarkable contribution to the legacy of the Statue of Liberty, and for ensuring her story will continue to be told to this and future generations,” said John Piltzecker, superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
“Starting today, every visitor who comes to Liberty Island will have the opportunity to have a full museum experience, to learn about Lady Liberty’s history and how she still shines as a beacon of hope for all people around the world,” said Briganti.
The 26,000-square-foot museum features three gallery spaces. Each one is meant to inspire visitors and educate them about the Statue of Liberty in interactive and thought-provoking ways. The experience culminates with an up-close view of the statue’s original torch, held high for nearly 100 years. Rescued from the elements and replaced in 1986, the torch is the most powerful artifact visitors encounter as they reach the end of the museum experience. The museum merges landscape and building, and the roof is planted with native meadow grasses. The roof offers visitors sweeping, panoramic views of Lady Liberty, lower Manhattan, and all of New York Harbor. Access to the museum is free with the purchase of a Statue Cruises ferry ticket to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
The new Statue of Liberty Museum is part of a $100 million Liberty Island-wide beautification effort. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation funded the project. Architecture firm FXCollaborative designed the museum. Experience design firm ESI created the exhibits. Phelps Construction Group built the structure. SBI Consultants served as the owner’s representative coordinating activities among all stakeholders.
“While the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons in the world, few people ever get to climb to its crown or get to see Lady Liberty’s face up close,” said Edwin Schlossberg, founder and principal designer of ESI Design. “Our goal for the design of the museum experience is to immerse visitors in not just the grandeur and sweeping history of the Statue, but also in the very idea of liberty itself so that they leave with a deeper understanding of what it means to them and the active role required to uphold it.”
Statue Cruises are the official transportation method to reach Liberty Island.
For more information about the Statue of Liberty Museum or visiting Liberty Island go to statueoflibertymuseum.org and follow the foundation on social media at Facebook.com/StatueEllisFdn, Twitter @StatueEllisFdn, and Instagram @StatueEllisFdn.