After over three years in development, the Statue of Liberty Museum, which celebrates America’s iconic landmark, opened on May 16, 2019 on Liberty Island.
Although many people associate the Statue of Liberty with immigration due to the history of neighbouring Ellis Island, the original intention behind the gift – designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel – was to commemorate the abolition of slavery in the United States.
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation hopes that the museum will provide a more accessible experience for visitors. Due to increased security measures following 9/11, only 20 per cent of the statue’s 4.3 million visitors were allowed to visit the original museum located in the base of the statue.
Visits to the new museum open with a short interactive video series that provides a historical overview of the Statue of Liberty’s creation. Visitors can tour gallery spaces to view historical artifacts, including the statue’s original torch from 1886 (which was replaced in the 1980s). It's also possible to take a virtual tour through the free iOS app, allowing global users to engage with the statue’s history.