Raising the Torch: The Statue of Liberty Museum
Since she was unveiled in 1886, the Statue of Liberty has been a source of inspiration worldwide. American poets such as Henry van Dyke observed her symbolic importance to the values of the nation. And as of today, she's sure to be a muse to many more. The Statue of Liberty Museum opened its doors to the public today, allowing visitors to see and learn about this iconic attraction first-hand through an immersive, multi-sensory experience.
What is The Statue of Liberty Museum?
Five years in the making, the new museum offers sightseers the convenience of being able to bypass crowds at the pedestal. Around 4.3 million people visited the attraction in 2018 - that can equal a lot of congestion! What's more, visiting the crown requires advance planning, tickets sell fast and being 305 feet in the air doesn't appeal to every visitor.
So what's inside?
A relatively short exhibition - a length chosen due to high footfall - allows sightseers to view the Statue of Liberty in an entirely different way. Guests can stop by a model of French artist Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's Parisian studio - the creator of the Statue. Visitors can also reach out and touch a copper replica of the Statue's face. They can even see the original torch, which has been in storage since the 1980s.
Image courtesy of Liberty Ellis Foundation
The brand-new museum allows its visitors to literally walk through the Statue's history in a three-part video. This is before emerging into the proclamation that formally ended slavery. This poignant multimedia experience depicts the events that inspired Bartholdi to create what now stands as a globally-recognised symbol of freedom in America.
Who's the museum for?
To make this museum as accessible as possible to its visitors, it features kiosks. As well as being a place where visitors can share their ideas about liberty, the kiosks have been placed at a level that makes it easier for wheelchair users. This has been combined with a wide turning radius throughout the space. Custom headsets feature videos with audio narration for blind visitors. Deaf and hard-of-hearing guests can use hand-held devices to watch an ASL tour throughout the museum.
With accessibility at the forefront of their design, the museum has also ensured that you don't even need to be there to experience the Statue!
The launch of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's iOS app, named the Statue of Liberty app, uses augmented reality to open the experience up globally. See what she sees through a time-lapse view of the city. Watch media about her signature green tinge - the result of being buffeted by wind, pelted by rain and warmed by the sun for decades. Then look at her in all her stunning, three-dimensional glory, courtesy of high-resolution, helicopter photography. And if you haven't had your fill of all things Miss Liberty, tune in to Raising the Torch. This podcast features historians discussing the Statue's history and her continued impact on the collective imagination.
Location: 1 Liberty Island - Ellis Island, New York, NY 10004, USA
Opening hours: 8.30am – 6pm daily