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New Statue of Liberty Museum Honors the Immigrant Experience

2018-12-9

A new 2,400 square-meter museum is set to open on New York State’s Liberty Island next year.

The museum celebrates the world famous Statue of Liberty. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States. It officially opened to the public in October 1886.

From 1892 to 1954, more than 12 million immigrants passed by the Statue of Liberty as their ships sailed to nearby Ellis Island. Many immigrants later traveled to Liberty Island and saw the statue up close. At the bottom, are the words of poet Emma Lazarus: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…”

Now, a new museum to honor ‘Lady Liberty’ is on the way.

Nicholas Garrison is a partner with FXCollaborative, a New York-based company that plans and designs buildings. He designed the museum.

"When we first came on the island, we were moved. We…saw people on their knees, crying, because of what this place meant, and it kind of sunk into us that this is a really special, sacred place."

About 4.5 million tourists visit Liberty Island every year. But only about 20 percent are able to go inside the Statue of Liberty because of limited space. The new museum will permit every visitor to know what the inside is like.

The museum is expected to open in May 2019.

Entering the building, visitors will experience a virtual look inside the head of Lady Liberty. They also have a chance to see a recreation of the work place of Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, who created the statue.

Museum visitors also will see the 1,600-kilogram torch that lit up New York Harbor for nearly 100 years. It was replaced in 1985.

On top of the Statue of Liberty Museum, visitors can have a good look at New York's Lower Manhattan area. Nicholas Garrison says the museum “tries to be inspirational unto itself as its own object…while being respectful to the buildings that are here."

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Ramon Taylor and Asli Pelit reported this story for VOA News. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

museum – n. a building in which interesting and valuable things are shown to the public

huddled – adj. close together in a group

inspirational – adj. causing people to want to do or create something

sacred – adj. considered very holy

yearning – v. to feel a strong desire or wish for something or to do something

torch n. a burning stick’ something providing light or guidance

virtual adj. existing mainly in computers or on the internet