New York, NY The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. (SOLEIF), with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior has unveiled the plans for the building of a new Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, which is projected to open to the public in 2019.
This is the first new building construction undertaken by the foundation, which has been responsible for historic restoration and preservation since the 1980s. The new 26,000 s/f museum was designed by architecture firm FXFOWLE and exhibitions are being created by experienced design firm ESI Design. It will be built by Phelps Construction Group. The new museum—which is the key part of a beautification plan that also includes landscaping and lighting— will give the more than 4.3 million annual visitors to the Statue of Liberty the opportunity to learn about and honor the statue’s history, influence, and legacy in the world. The current Statue of Liberty Museum, located inside the Statue of Liberty monument, is only accessible to a small fraction of the statue’s visitors due to the safety upgrades that were put in place following September 11th, 2001.
Diane von Furstenberg was named chair of the fundraising campaign that seeks to raise $100 million for the foundation, which, in partnership with the National Park Service, was responsible for the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and will build this new $70 million museum.
“The Statue of Liberty is not just one of the most recognized monuments in the world, but an international symbol of hope that deserves to have her story shared with everyone who visits Liberty Island,” said SOLEIF president and CEO Stephen Briganti. “We are so honored to have Diane von Furstenberg, who was so inspired by the statue herself when she first arrived in America, leading the fundraising campaign for the new museum.”
“Lady Liberty is the symbol of everything America is about: freedom, hope, possibility and resilience. It is she that millions of immigrants saw first as they arrived in this country, their hearts full of dreams for a brighter future. Now it is my hope that the Statue of Liberty and her incredible story will live on and on, inspiring generations for years to come,” said von Furstenberg.
As “godmother” of this new chapter of Lady Liberty’s history, von Furstenberg had the idea to create a magnificent mural at the museum’s entrance, an artistic evocation inspired by yet another of America’s most meaningful symbols – the American flag. Each of the fifty “Liberty Stars” will be sculpted into a mural crafted from the original hand-forged iron bars, created by engineer Gustave Eiffel which supported the Statue of Liberty for 100 years and were removed and preserved during her 1986 centennial restoration. The underwriting of each Liberty Star is $2 million.
“With state-of-the-art exhibitions and iconic artifacts including the statue’s original torch, the new Statue of Liberty Museum will ensure that future generations know, understand, and appreciate all that Lady Liberty represents in America and around the world,” said Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island superintendent John Piltzecker.
FXFOWLE has created a 26,000 s/f building. Every detail has been incorporated to complement and respect the Statue of Liberty and her island.
The museum will utilize the best practices for sustainability and feature a green roof-scape and bird-safe glass exteriors. The interior and exterior spaces will be built with the materials native to Liberty Island and materials used to build the Statue of Liberty and Fort Wood including Stony Creek granite, bronze, plaster, and a variety of native vegetation. Pursuant to the new FEMA executive order on floodplain management and resiliency, the museum will be set above 500-year flood levels and built to withstand hurricane force winds.
“From the start, the design of the Statue of Liberty Museum was conceived as an extension of the park,” said Nicholas Garrison, partner and project designer, FXFOWLE. “The goal was to engage with the park’s formal, axial plan and respond to its spectacular setting. The island’s landscape is lifted and merged with the architecture to create space for the museum in a new geology. The building’s angular forms and spaces are shaped by its views and the irregularity of the water’s edge, celebrating liberty.”
The building will allow for expanded artifacts, content and exhibits conceived by Edwin Schlossberg and his team at ESI Design, on the history of Liberty, her original concept, design, construction, and her 1986 centennial restoration. The museum will explore the philosophical concept of liberty and how the Statue of Liberty serves not only as an American symbol but as an interpretive and celebrated iconic global symbol.
The exhibits inside the new Statue of Liberty Museum, created by ESI Design, will provoke insight, stir emotions, and inspire ideas about the Statue of Liberty and the ideals she represents. To begin, an immersive experience will take visitors on a virtual flythrough inside the monument with awe-inspiring perspectives and an overview of the story of Lady Liberty and how the world has changed around her. Visitors can then delve into stories about the statue’s construction, history, and global impact through historic artifacts, immersive media, and interactives. The culmination of the museum experience has visitors consider their own roles in liberty’s future through engaging activities.
“Our goal is for visitors to take away a richer picture of what the Statue of Liberty has meant to people throughout her history – not only in this nation but around the world – and to see themselves as part of the amazing story of liberty’s future,” said Schlossberg, president and principal designer of ESI Design.
Liberty Mutual Insurance has joined the project as a corporate sponsor. To date, Liberty Stars are Allen & Company, the Bezos Family, Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, Chanel, The Coca-Cola Foundation, Comcast NBCUniversal, David Geffen Foundation, Michael and Linda Donovan, Jeffrey and Paula Gural, Mellody Hobson and George Lucas, Leonard Lauder, Deborah Simon, the Tisch Family, the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, and The Walt Disney Company. Additional major donors include the Annenberg Foundation, Ford Foundation, Charina Endowment Fund, and the NYC & Company Foundation.
Access to the museum will be free with purchase of a ferry ticket to visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Liberty Island will continue to be open to visitors throughout construction of the new museum. Ferry tickets and boat schedules to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are available at www.StatueCruises.com.
SOLEIF is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created museums on both islands, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®, the American Family Immigration History Center, and most recently The Peopling of America Center which transformed the museum into the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The Foundation’s endowment has funded over 200 projects at the islands.
Statue of Liberty Museum Project Team
Structural Engineer: Desimone Consulting Engineers
MEP/FP: Kohler Ronan Consulting Engineers
Exhibition Designer: ESI Design
Civil Engineer: Langan Engineering
Landscape Architect: Quennell Rothschild & Partners