HBO’s new documentary, Liberty: Mother of Exiles, spends a lot of time focusing on the Statue of Liberty Museum. Fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg led a multimillion fundraising campaign to build the museum and now she’s known as the godmother of Lady Liberty. Here is more on the museum’s background and how you can visit.
How to Visit the Museum
Admission to the museum is free, Loving New York shared. The only cost is securing a ferry ride to the island. The ride takes about 20 minutes. Reserving a ferry ticket does not grant pedestal or crown access, which requires a different kind of ticket.
You can reserve ferry tickets through the Statue of Liberty’s website for $18.50 per adult, $9 per child, and $14 per senior here. Pedestal and crown tickets can also be reserved there.
This makes learning about the history of Lady Liberty much more accessible, since tickets to the pedestal or the crown are limited and can quickly sell out. Only 100 tickets to the crown are sold each day, and you may need to buy them a month in advance. You can’t get crown tickets the day of your visit.
About the Museum
The documentary starts with the museum’s groundbreaking ceremony and then follows the museum’s history and how it was built. Today the museum is open to the public, The New York Times shared.
The museum needed to raise $100 million for its construction. A large number of private donors contributed at first, and then 40,000 people donated another couple of million, Fortune reported. Donors could also get inaugural medallions for $50, which raised additional funds. The federal government did not aid in the museum’s fundraising.
The museum was opened in May 2019 and it stands at the base of the famed statue. The museum has three interactive galleries telling the history of the statute. Prior to the museum, a small exhibition was inside the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal. Now, the 26,000-square-foot museum has taken over the exhibition space’s role, AM NY reported.
Included in the museum is a 10-minute immersive theater experience describing the story of the Statue of Liberty. Visitors also learn that the idea for the statue originated with Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye. The museum has audio tours in 12 languages, making the museum accessible to people from all over the world.
There’s also an engagement gallery where people can “relive” the work that Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and his team did to build the statue. At one point, Bartholdi considered having Lady Liberty hold broken chains in her hands. Eventually, this was replaced with a tablet and the broken chains are under her feet. They are very difficult for visitors to see, The New York Times shared. In fact, you might only see them if you’re in a helicopter.
When the statue first opened in 1886, it was more strongly associated with emancipation rather than immigration, The New York Times shared. The “huddled masses” poem was written in 1883, but it wasn’t put on the pedestal until 1903.
An inspiration gallery gives visitors a chance to reflect on what they learned. The original torch can also be found here, and you can see a beautiful view of Lady Liberty through the windowed walls. The original torch was replaced in 1986. It was previously in that smaller museum in the statue’s pedestal.
The museum also has a rooftop deck to see the harbor and the statue. It’s a beautiful view.