The Statue of Liberty is without doubt one of the most amazing monuments you will see in New York. That feeling of awe that becomes you as the boat sails alongside Lady Liberty is a moment you will never forget. Even more amazing are the stories that led to her inception and creation. You have the opportunity to learn about these and so many other fascinating anecdotes inside the pedestal at the Statue of Liberty Exhibit. While many feel the need to save time and omit this segment, visiting the museum is definitely an essential part of your visit.
1. Hands-On Encounter
The best part of the museum is interacting with and experiencing the statue in a physical and unique way. As you step inside the pedestal, the first thing you see is a giant, glowing torch in front of you. This beautiful centerpiece was once placed where the current torch is today. To see it so close is captivating. You will find yourself face to face with Liberty, literally, as you come across the full scale replica of her face, specifically created for the museum. This is the only opportunity to feel the thin copper plates that make up the outer layer of the statue.
From display to display are models, pictures, artifacts that allow you to experience the statue up close and personal. Including the cast iron beams that were once placed inside to keep the incredibly thin copper from collapsing. After years of support, the cast irons beams were replaced by steel. The replaced pieces were saved and displayed for guests to see and touch. You can feel just how thick they are, their strength, their stability and observe their shapes and contours. It’s a rare experience that is definitely worth the time.
2. Recognition and Appreciation
One of the most rewarding experiences of being a tour guide is sharing a fact or a story with a guest and hearing the audible response of surprise. That amazed look of “I had no idea” is always a great pleasure to experience. Most of these moments occur as we enter the museum and begin the journey of the statue from its inception onward. The museum is laid out in chronological order, therefore it is both easy to follow and comprehend. But the true satisfaction actually comes once we’ve left. Looking up at her, you realize how much more you appreciate and value her now that you know her real story. Which is so much more than just “a gift from France.” Most people don’t realize that the copper alone took almost an entire year just to shape it!
That was only one of many steps needed to assemble her together. It is always easier to appreciate something when you see how much work, time, and effort were put into it. You will surely learn at least one story that will shock you, move you, fascinate you or all three. By doing so, you are honoring the statue beyond just the one-dimensional. You are recognizing all that went into her planning, her construction and that alone greatly intensifies her meaning and her symbolism. For you and for the many others who will hear and share in your stories.
3. Enhanced Overall Experience
Time and time again guests will do the exact same thing. They arrive off the ferry, walk around to the front of the statue, snap a few pics, maybe buy a souvenir or two and then leave. While that may seem like the best idea, given that New York is such a big place and there is so much to see and do, it often seems that the best memories are made not just from going somewhere and seeing it but from really experiencing all there is to be shared. It’s one thing to say you saw the statue and it’s another to say you learned from her, or appreciated her, or even connected with her. Yes, she is beautiful, and worth admiring from afar.
But guests walk away with a much fuller and richer experience when they allow themselves the chance to gain more. If you are interested in seeing the pedestal, the cost of viewing the museum is included with your ticket. Opting not to enter the pedestal means you are not allowed access into the museum. But a pedestal ticket is even the exact same price as a standard “grounds-only” ticket, so there is nothing to be lost financially. More importantly, you will have a fonder memory, a better story to tell and a more sentimental encounter altogether.
If you are interested, consider making a guided experience part of your next vacation with our Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Tour. Included is access to both the pedestal and the Statue museum, along with access to the Ellis Island Museum. Our guides will bestow you with incredible stories and knowledge that will change the way you see the Statue of Liberty. Together, we will experience everything the Statue and Liberty Island have to offer.