NEW YORK – A new museum opening at the Statue of Liberty is giving visitors another opportunity to explore its history and the impact the iconic structure has had on the world.
The 26,000-square-foot museum on Liberty Island, scheduled to open to the public Thursday, is the new home for the statue's original torch and other artifacts which had previously been in a smaller museum space inside the statue's pedestal, which is accessible only to the fraction of the more than 4 million annual visitors who manage to get limited-availability statue entry tickets.
The new space, located somewhat away from the entrance to the statue, is open to anyone who comes to Liberty Island, with admission included in the price of the ferry ticket.
Inside, there are three main gallery spaces, starting with a theater where visitors walk through as they watch a film that goes into how the idea for the statue came about, the efforts that went into its making in France and its arrival in the New York harbor.
Another gallery goes into the building of the statue, with exhibits meant to show what it would have been like in Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi's studio, and the models and molds used to make it. Another section shows how iconic the statue has become, not only in American culture but around the world.
In the final gallery, visitors are encouraged to take digital self-portraits and add their thoughts on what liberty means to them, as they look at the original torch and a replica of the statue's face.