“Give to me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” reads the poem by Emma Lazarus (1849-18878) that is inscribed on a bronze plaque on the Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island in New York Harbor in New York City. And now, the famous site—it is a U.S. National Monument and arguably, one of the most recognizable signatures of American culture, especially to international travelers visiting the USA and New York City—is going to have a larger museum to take care of the hundreds of thousands of tourists and sightseers who visit it.
Announced last week, the new building behind the statue will replace a smaller museum opened in the 1980s in Lady Liberty’s base. Only 20 percent of the 4.5 million people who visit Liberty Island each year are able to get tickets for the museum, due to security measures that were implemented after 9/11. When the new, 26,000-square-foot museum opens in 2019, all island visitors will be allowed entry.
The $70 million project will be built by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, with fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg heading up fund-raising; she said that she was inspired to get involved in the project by reading a book—“Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure to Build the Statue of Liberty”—by long-time New York Daily News writer Elizabeth Mitchell.
Liberty Island, along with nearby (less than a kilometer) Ellis Island, comprise the Statue of Liberty National Monument in Upper New York Bay. (In photo above, Liberty Island is in the foreground.) Ellis Island Ellis Island was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the United States as the nation’s busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. Both islands can be reached by ferry; most tour operators include one or both of the sites in their New York City itineraries.
For more information, visit: www.libertyellisfoundation.org.