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STATUE OF LIBERTY
Statue of Liberty History
The Statue of Liberty National Monument officially celebrated her 100th birthday on October 28, 1986. The people
of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States over one hundred years ago in recognition of the friendship
established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty has grown to include freedom
and democracy as well as this international friendship.
Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture with the year 1876 in mind for completion, to commemorate
the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The Statue was a joint effort between America and France
and it was agreed upon that the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible
for the Statue and its assembly here in the United States. However, lack of funds was a problem on both sides of
the Atlantic Ocean. In France, public fees, various forms of entertainment, and a lottery were among the methods
used to raise funds. In the United States, benefit theatricalevents, art exhibitions, auctions and prize fights assisted in
providing needed funds. Meanwhile in France, Bartholdi required the assistance of an engineer to address structural
issues associated with designing such as colossal copper sculpture. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel
Tower) was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue's
copper skin to move independently yet stand upright. Back in America, fund raising for the pedestal was going particularly
slowly, so Joseph Pulitzer (noted for the Pulitzer Prize) opened up the editorial pages of his newspaper, "The
World" to support the fund raising effort. Pulitzer used his newspaper to criticize both the rich who had
failed to finance the pedestal construction and the middle class who were content to rely upon the wealthy to provide
the funds. Pulitzer's campaign of harsh criticism was successful in motivating the people of America to donate.
Financing for the pedestal was completed in August 1885, and pedestal construction was finished in April of
1886. The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor in June of 1885 on board
the French frigate "Isere" which transported the Statue of Liberty from France to the United States.
In transit, the Statue was reduced to 350 individual pieces and packed in 214 crates. The Statue was re-assembled
on her new pedestal in four months time. On October 28th 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty took place
in front of thousands of spectators. She was a centennial gift ten years late.
The story of the Statue of Liberty and her island has been one of change. The Statue was placed upon a granite
pedestal inside the courtyard of the star-shaped walls of Fort Wood (which had been completed for the War of 1812.)
The United States Lighthouse Board had responsibility for the operation of the Statue of Liberty until 1901. After
1901, the care and operation of the Statue was placed under the War Department. A Presidential Proclamation declared
Fort Wood (and the Statue of Liberty within it) a National Monument on October 15th, 1924 and the monument's boundary
was set at the outer edge of Fort Wood. In 1933, the care and administration of the National Monument was transferred
to the National Park Service. On September 7, 1937, jurisdiction was enlarged to encompass all of Bedloe's Island
and in 1956, the island's name was changed to Liberty Island. On May 11, 1965, Ellis Island was also transferred
to the National Park Service and became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In May of 1982, President
Ronald Reagan appointed Lee Iacocca to head up a private sector effort to restore the Statue of Liberty. Fundraising
began for the $87 million restoration under a public/private partnership between the National Park Service and
the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., to date the most successful such partnership in American history.
In 1984, at the start of the Statue's restoration, the United Nations designated the Statue of Liberty as a World Heritage Site. On July 5, 1986 the newly restored
Statue re-opened to the public during Liberty Weekend, which celebrated her centennial.
|Height from to of base to torch
|Ground to tip of torch
|Heel to top of head
|Length of hand
|Head from chin to cranium
|Head thickness from ear to ear
|Distance across the eye
|Length of nose
|Length of right arm
|Thickness of right arm
|Thickness of waist
|Width of mouth
|Length of tablet
|Width of tablet
|Thickness of tablet
|Ground to top of pedestal
Visitors climb 354 steps to reach the crown or 192 steps in order to reach the top of the pedestal. There are
25 windows in the crown which symbolize gemstones found on the earth and the heaven's rays shining over the world.
The seven rays of the Statue's crown represent the seven seas and continents of the world. The tablet which the
Statue holds in her left hand reads (in Roman numerals) "July 4th, 1776." The total weight of copper
in the Statue is 62,000 pounds (31 tons) and the total weight of steel in the Statue is 250,000 pounds (125 tons).
Total weight of the Statue's concrete foundation is 54 million pounds (27,000 tons). The copper sheeting of the
Statue is 3/32 of an inch thick or 2.37mm.
Wind sway: winds of 50 miles per hour cause the Statue to sway 3 inches (7.62cm) and the torch sways 5 inches
On October 28th, 1886, President Grover Cleveland accepted the Statue on behalf of the United
States and said in part: "We will not forget that Liberty has here made her home; nor shall her chosen altar
Liberty Island: 9:30am - 5:00pm.
Ellis Island: 9:30am - 5:15pm.
The ferry ticket office closes prior to park's closing. Due to the park's security procedures
please allow for ample time in your visitation plans.
Adult Ticket: $10.00, Senior (62 and over): $8.00, Child
(4-12): $4.00, Under 4:Free.
*As a normal part of closing procedures,
access to areas of the park will close prior to the final boat departure.*
At this time, only the grounds on Liberty Island are open to the public. The Statue,
museum exhibit, pedestal, and crown remain closed indefinitely.
All public areas of Ellis Island are opened for visitation.
Various activities are available when visiting the Statue of Liberty. A visit to the
Statue's crown often can mean a two to three hour wait in line and requires a 22-story climb (354 steps). This climb to the crown is strenuous and is not recommended
for those with health problems. The Pedestal observation deck offers a spectacular view of New York Harbor and
can be reached either by climbing 192 steps or by elevator. (Suspended until
For those with time constraints, a visit to the museum exhibits located in the Statue's pedestal
explains how the monument was conceived, constructed and restored. Also, visitors can view the New York Harbor
from the lower promenade sections of the pedestal. The Statue's original torch is on exhibit in the main lobby.(Suspended until further notice)
Dependent upon staffing levels, park ranger guided tours are offered daily. Tours of the Statue
of Liberty focus on the history, construction and restoration of this National Monument.
Tours are available on a first-come first-serve basis, last approximately 45 minutes and offer visitors a comprehensive
source of information.
"Statue on Tour": this off-site slide program and photo exhibition of the history of the
Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is offered to senior centers, nursing homes and facilities for the infirm within
a 25-mile radius of the park. Please contact our program reservationist for more information at (212) 363-3200.
Ranger Guided Tours: 45 minute tours explaining the conception, construction, and restoration of one
of the world's greatest monuments. Island history and harbor environs and answers to any question you may have
are covered by our Stetson-wearing staff. (free - available first-come, first-served). Schedule of offerings posted
at Information Center.
the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum can be a rich and rewarding experience
for school groups. In order to preserve and protect the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and ensure visitor safety,
we ask that the following rules and regulations be adhered to during your school group visit.
- THERE MUST BE ONE (1) TEACHER OR ADULT CHAPERONE FOR EVERY TEN (10) STUDENTS.
- STUDENTS MUST REMAIN WITH THEIR CHAPERONES AT ALL TIMES.
- FOOD AND DRINK MAY NOT BE CONSUMED ANYWHERE WITHIN THE STATUE AND ONLY IN DESIGNATED AREAS IN THE ELLIS
ISLAND IMMIGRATION MUSEUM.
- CHEWING GUM IS NOT PERMITTED ON LIBERTY OR ELLIS ISLANDS. PLEASE DEPOSIT GUM AND ALL OTHER TRASH IN
- SMOKING IS NOT PERMITTED ANYWHERE INSIDE THE STATUE OF LIBERTY OR THE ELLIS ISLAND IMMIGRATION MUSEUM.
ANYONE CAUGHT DEFACING, DAMAGING, OR IN ANY WAY VANDALIZING THIS NATIONAL MONUMENT, OR
ANY EXHIBIT, OR OTHER PROPERTY THEREIN WILL BE SUBJECT TO FINE AND/OR ARREST UNDER 36 CFR.
Park Ranger Guided Tours: are available at the Statue of Liberty for school groups no larger
than 40 students by reservation only. Guided tours are approximately 45 minutes in length. Tours are currently
conducted outdoors due to the Statue's indefinite closure. If you are interested in arranging a tour, please contact
the reservations coordinator at (212) 363-3200.
Junior Ranger Program: available for kids at the Statue of Liberty. This self-guided program
gives children an opportunity to learn about one of the world's most famous symbols of freedom. Use the booklet
to complete fun activities that teach children about the National Park Service and this site and why it is important
to protect and preserve this National Monument. The booklet takes about 1 hour to complete and is currently available
only here. Booklets will be available at the Information Center on Liberty Island soon.
Web Rangers Program: a national on-line junior park ranger program has been unveiled for kids of all
ages to participate in.
Activity Sheets: available for groups or individuals that are on a limited time schedule or
to attend other programs. These worksheets are free of charge and can be obtained from park rangers at the information
center. Pre-visit activity sheets are available for classroom use.
Park in a Pack: This traveling educational kit is curriculum-based and is available to educators
, for 2 week periods"on loan" for use in the classroom. "Park
in a Pack" is free of charge except for return postage. A security deposit is required to obtain
the kit. "Park in a Pack" is recommended for grades 4 through 8. It contains a teaching
guide, 4 videos, and many educational activites about the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island for your students
to enjoy. To further information or reservations on "Park in a Pack" please contact the Education
Specialist at (212) 363-3200.
Web-based Resources for Kids: This interactive website teaches children about their
government, community, and historical facts about America. A must for any educator teaching this important subject
matter. Appropriate for grades K-12.
Teachers Corner: this new additon is a fun way to learn about the Statue of Liberty. Activities currently
available focus on the Statue's symbols as well as the people who were instrumental in Liberty's inception, construction,
Statue of Liberty Teacher's Guide: this grade 3-6 curriculum-based guide is available to educators by calling
(212) 363-3200. (Limit 1 per request).
These programs will compliment your school group visit to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and the Ellis
Island Immigration Museum. The National Park Service is committed to preserving and protecting
America's National Park treasures for future generations to enjoy. Help us bring that experience to our most treasured
resource - our children!
Statue of Liberty Exhibit: The Statue of Liberty is more than a monument. She is a beloved
friend, a living symbol of freedom to millions around the world. This exhibit is her biography. It is a tribute
to the people who created her, to those who built and paid for her, to the ideals she represents, and to the hopes
The Statue of Liberty
exhibit, located on the second floor in the pedestal of the Statue, traces the history and symbolism of the Statue
of Liberty through museum objects, photographs, prints, videos and oral histories. The exhibit opened in July 1986.
In addition to historical artifacts and descriptive text, full scale replicas of the Statue's face and foot are
also on display. The main historical sections include: From Idea to Image, Fabricating the Statue, Stretching Technology,
Fundraising in France, The Pedestal, Fundraising in America, and Complete at Last. The next area focuses on the
symbolism of Liberty with sections titled Mother of Exiles, Becoming the Statue of America, Century of Souvenirs,
The Image Exploited and The Statue in Popular Culture.(The interior of the monument is closed
for security reasons until further notice)
The Torch Exhibit: The Torch Exhibit includes the original 1886 torch and much altered flame
in the lobby. On the second floor balcony overlooking this torch is a display on the history of the torch and flame,
explaining the various alterations through diagrams, photographs, drawings and cartoons.
The "New Colossus": Famous sonnet written by Emma Lazarus in 1883. A bronze plaque, dedicated
in memory of Emma Lazarus' contribution to the completion of the Statue's pedestal, has been affixed to the inner
walls of the pedestal since the early 1900's. This plaque, currently located in the Statue of Liberty exhibit,
has come to symbolize the statue's universal message of hope and freedom for immigrants coming to America and people
seeking freedom around the world.
Click here to read the "New Colossus".
Last Revised: February 23, 2004.