The New Statue of Liberty Museum Will Open in NYC This Month

May 2, 2019

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This spring is a monumental one for New York City. Following the opening of Hudson Yards in March, the new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island is slated to open on May 16.

The museum will be a big deal for tourists and New Yorkers — especially kids — who want to learn about Lady Liberty. Since 9/11, 80% of the more than 4.3 million visitors to Liberty Island are unable to access the museum inside the statue’s pedestal due to security restrictions. When the new $70 million museum opens, it will allow people to visit without advance reservations or tickets.

Spread over 26,000 square feet, the new scheme includes a free-standing museum in which there will be educational exhibits on the statue’s history, a large public plaza and a rooftop viewing platform accessible by a monumental exterior staircase. The museum complex is being designed by New York-based FXCollaborative, which also designed the Alice Tully Hall adjacent to Lincoln Center, renovated and expanded the Javits Center and worked on the master plan for Hudson Yards.

They designed the building with sustainability and resiliency in mind. It’s resistant to hurricanes, can treat storm water runoff, uses renewable energy and incorporates local flora and fauna into the exteriors.

Rendering courtesy of the Liberty Ellis Foundation.
Rendering courtesy of the Liberty Ellis Foundation.

The statue’s original torch has already been moved to the site of the new museum. When it opens in a couple of weeks, it will have several galleries with exhibits that immerse viewers in the statue’s story and invite them to reflect on the ideals she represents, including access to education, free elections and freedom of the press. In the Engagement Gallery, for example, a series of multimedia displays will show visitors what it was like inside the workshop where French sculptor Frédéric August Bartholdi created the statue.

The Inspiration Gallery will let visitors get up close and personal with the statue’s original torch, which was removed in 1984 and replaced. Though Bartholdi had initially envisioned it as a shining copper flame, subsequent interventions transformed it into a flame made mainly of glass, which suffered from serious rainwater leakage and had to be removed. Once inside the museum, it will shine once again.

 

Featured rendering courtesy of the Liberty Ellis Foundation.

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