The Statue of Liberty, “Liberty Enlightening the World,” is known the world over as a universal symbol of enlightenment, freedom, and democracy. Previously located in the Statue’s pedestal, the original Statue of Liberty Museum prevented 80% of Liberty Island’s visitors from entering due to restrictive security measures implemented following September 11, 2001.
In contrast, the new 26,000-square-foot Statue of Liberty Museum gives every visitor the opportunity to experience the museum and the inspiring history and message of Lady Liberty. The building uplifts the experience of the island for all visitors, and extends the island’s open space, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the beloved international monument.
The Statue of Liberty Museum anchors the main axis of Liberty Island that connects the museum to the statue, and extends this axis via a sweeping granite staircase that leads to a dramatic granite roof terrace that provides unobstructed views of Lady Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and New York Harbor.
The museum’s centerpiece is the original torch that graced the Statue of Liberty for nearly 100 years—a universal symbol of enlightenment now framed with a sparkling glass vitrine that makes it a visible beacon to visitors on the island and all over New York Harbor. Merging landscape and building, the museum’s roof is planted with native meadow grasses that create a natural habitat for local and migrating birds and super-insulates the building by capturing and filtering stormwater.
The project’s materials link the future of Liberty Island with its past, employing the same Stony Creek granite chosen for the Statue’s base, and a bronze alloy whose patina matches the monumental bronze doors of Fort Wood. A true garden pavilion, the Statue of Liberty Museum is designed to accommodate all of the island’s 4.3 million annual visitors, and anticipates LEED Gold certification.
Experience and Exhibition Design: ESI Design Construction Manager: Phelps Construction GroupStructural Engineer: DeSimone Consulting EngineersMEP Engineer: Kohler Ronan Consulting EngineersLandscape Architect: Quennell Rothschild & PartnersCivil Engineer: LanganLighting Design: George Sexton AssociatesAcoustics Consultant: Longman LindseyPhotography: Iwan Baan; David Sundberg/Esto.