The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. (SOLEIF), with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior have unveiled plans for the building of a new Statue of Liberty Museum designed by FXFOWLE on Liberty Island in New York Harbour, 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 sq ft museum was designed by architecture firm FXFOWLE and exhibitions are being created by experience 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 4.3m annual visitors to the Statue of Liberty the opportunity to learn about and honour 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 11, 2001.
Diane von Furstenberg was named chair of the fundraising campaign that seeks to raise $100m 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 $70m 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 Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation President and CEO Stephen Briganti. “We are so honoured 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 Diane von Furstenberg.
As ‘godmother’ of this new chapter of Lady Liberty’s rich 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 $2m.
“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.