On Thursday, May 16, 2019, the upgraded Statue of Liberty Museum is set to be opened after being sponsored $100 million by means of a public campaign, following its breaking ground over two years ago. Occupying 26,000 square feet, the museum is filled with iconic relics and hands-on exhibitions, and ascents uphill from Liberty Island’s central pedestrian mall. They expect around 4.5 million people to visit the island yearly.
Constructed on the side of the island facing New Jersey, there are terraced steps formed out of the identical Stony Creek granite used to construct the base of the statue, which leads to a green roof seeded with local grasses occupying 14,000 square feet. From that point, guests can appreciate the scenic views of the Upper Bay in the middle of New Jersey and New York, and naturally, including Lady Liberty. Jerry Willis, the Public Affairs officer, said, “The museum was designed to blend into the historic landscape of the island, so it looks like it just kind-of emerges out of the landscape. It’s a really special place.”
According to www.dailyrecord.com, the museum is separated into three areas which are the Engagement Gallery, with classic and hands-on areas to elaborate on the construction of the statue and its strong position in the culture of the United States. The second area is the Immersive Theater, where there is an onsite multimedia presentation, and the third is the Inspiration Gallery, where the center of the original torch of Lady Liberty contains a space enclosed in glass which provides stunning views of Lady Liberty as well as the skyline of New York.
The inspiration to construct the museum goes back to a safety assessment in 2009 which instructed the restriction of people entering the statue to around 4,000 visitors in a day at the most. That access already included a secondary museum previously situated at the base of the statue. Willis said that this signifies that around 80 percent of the people visiting are not able to grasp the total experience as well as the complete story of Lady Liberty.
There are still daily restrictions regarding the entrance to the statue, however, the upgraded and bigger museum is available to everyone. People who want to visit can go to Liberty State Park located in New Jersey or to Battery Park located in New York, and catch a ferry from there. The ferry tickets already include admission. The President and CEO of the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, Stephen Briganti, stated that the nonprofit organization reached its $100 million target by means of principal sponsors, with the biggest single donation amounting to $5 million given by the Liberty Mutual Insurance. He remarked, “But we also had a specific goal about grassroots donors, by which I mean $10,000 and under. Most of them came in an average of $35. There were 40,000 of them.” He added that if they hadn’t reached their goal, the plans might have been postponed for the meantime.
The developer of this great project took several incredible measures to finish their task. The President of the Phelps Construction Group, Doug Phelps, said that the project was not the largest thing they have constructed, however, it was the most challenging. He added, “We are on a small island in New York Harbor. There is no direct access. We actually built our own temporary pier and did all our barging out of Jersey City to get everything here.”
Phelps collaborated with the architects to modify the design so more of the concrete structure of the museum could be precast off the premises. In total, around 350 tradesmen labored on the task since October 2016. Over 400 barge trips were needed to bring all the supplies to the island. The National Park Service instructed them “not to interrupt the visitor experience” which added to the challenge in the construction. Phelps said, “So we had a very small laydown area. It was a logistical nightmare, but we got it done.”
According to www.libertyellisfoundation.org, the Statue of Liberty Museum considers three primary components which are accessibility, education, and sustainability. Accessibility. Each guest will get the chance to experience significant masterpieces and to have a better appreciation of the history of Lady Liberty and what she represents. Furthermore, the museum will construct a lovely, fresh destination on Liberty Island and substantially improve the educational experience of the visitors in general.
Education. Restricted access to the statue’s base leads to less educational experiences for the pupils and guests coming from all over. Because of this, the National Park Service has requested the Foundation to carry out a remarkable project which is to construct a new, self-supporting museum in Liberty Island. The upgraded Statue of Liberty Museum will grant opportunities for everyone, and provide all guests with a better and much more significant experience as well as an awareness about history. Guests are able to explore the museum without any restraints and without needing to purchase additional advanced ticket passes or reservations.
Sustainability. The museum exhibits a design which is environmentally responsible and which also promotes the best habits for sustainability. It showcases the reuse of materials of the present Administration Building, bird-safe glass exteriors, and a green roof-scape. After the repercussions of Hurricane Sandy, it was placed beyond 500-year flood levels and was constructed to hold out to hurricane force winds.
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