The new Statue of Liberty Museum opens to the public on May 16, 2019, with three levels of exhibit space, including showcasing the statue’s original torch, replaced 30 years ago.
And there are picture postcard views of Lady Liberty and the Manhattan skyline through the glass window walls, and also from the rooftop patio.
The new Statue of Liberty Museum is three times the size of the original museum, dark and cramped inside the statue’s pedestal, with modern interactive exhibits.
The airy and spacious new museum is sure to be a welcome treat for the 4.5 million people who visit Liberty Island each year.
The Statue of Liberty Museum is part of a $100 million undertaking funded by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.
Admission is FREE with the purchase of a ferry ticket that offers entry to both Liberty and Ellis Islands and their museum exhibits.
Both are operated by the National Park Service, so there are also FREE tours led by Park Rangers.
For those who can’t visit in person, there’s a free AR app which will transport you to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty Museum, virtually.
Visitors can experience panoramic views of New York City with EarthCam’s collection of specially-engineered webcams installed on Lady Liberty’s torch balcony, including the HarborCam and exclusive “selfie” CrownCam shot.
The Statue of Liberty Museum Experience
The museum experience begins with a short film detailing the legacy of New York’s iconic, neoclassical sculpture.
Another exhibit tells the story of the statue’s beginnings in Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi’s famous French workshop, including some of his original sketches, and a timeline of her construction through her official dedication.
There’s also information about the public campaign to raise money for her base, launched by newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer.
The museum’s crown jewel is crown jewel: The Statue of Liberty’s original torch, which was replaced during a restoration in 1986.
Hidden for decades in the vault of the pedestal, the old torch literally glows, bathed in sunlight by a wall of windows, with the skyline of lower Manhattan to its left and Lady Liberty herself visible to its right.
Superstorm Sandy in 2012 damaged Liberty Island, so architects designed the museum to sit 19 feet above sea level to be better able too withstand storm winds and flooding (there’s 10 feet of hollow space, with 84 flood openings, below).
There’s also an eco-friendly roof garden pavilion planted with native meadow grasses, which offers visitors an unobstructed picture postcard view of Lady Liberty and Lower Manhattan.
And the stony creek granite used for the museum is the same material that makes up the statue’s pedestal.
The museum opens as the country grapples with immigration.
“We’ve had a love-hate with immigration. We open the doors, we close the doors, we open the doors, we close the doors,” said Stephen Briganti, president and CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation at the media preview for the new museum.
“The overwhelming backdrop to the Statue of Liberty is the fact that so many people who came to America whose lives — maybe yours, I know mine — were different because of what our ancestors did and that’s what we celebrate.”
The Statue of Liberty Museum chronicles the 133 years that Lady Liberty has been lifting her lamp beside the golden door, giving hope to poor, huddles masses around the world.
Purchase a ferry ticket from Statue Cruises, the only service licensed to dock at either island.
Ferries stop at both islands for one price.
Purchase tickets online to save time waiting at the kiosk to purchase in Battery Park.
Ferries depart every 20 minutes.
Images courtesy National Park Service and ESTO