1. SOUNDBITE (English) Stephen Briganti, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation CEO:
"When we first did the statue in 1980s most people could get into the museum. But there was a line but they could get in. But after 9/11 the restrictions on the numbers of people that could enter the statue was serious. So most people didn't get into the statue and therefore didn't see the museum and they were disappointed and that brought on the concept of building this museum. So that it would be open to all."
2. Wide of Liberty Island
3. Wide of new Statue of Liberty Museum that opens Thursday, May 16
4. Wide of replica of Statue of Liberty face at scale
5. Statue of Liberty foot at scale
6. Statue of Liberty figurine
7. Wide of Statue of Liberty items
8. Display of how statue was constructed
9. SOUNDBITE (English) John Piltzecker, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Superintendent:
"So behind me is the original torch of the Statue of Liberty. It did not look quite like that in 1886 when the statue was dedicated. It was a smaller solid copper flame that she held in her hand but through the years people wanted the torch to function as a lighthouse. So holes started to be punched in first a few and then a lot."
10. Various of original torch from the top of the Statue of Liberty
11. SOUNDBITE (English) John Piltzecker, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Superintendent:
"This was all privately fundraise. The Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation raised one hundred million dollars. That constructed this museum and designed the exhibits and media inside and also gave us a new security screening building."
A new museum opening at the Statue of Liberty is giving visitors another opportunity to explore its history and the impact the iconic structure has had on the world.
The 26,000-square-foot (2,415-square-meter) museum on Liberty Island, scheduled to open to the public on Thursday, is the new home for the statue's original torch and other artifacts which had previously been in a smaller museum space inside the statue's pedestal, which is accessible only to the fraction of the more than 4 million annual visitors who manage to get limited-availability statue entry tickets.
The new space, located somewhat away from the entrance to the statue, is open to anyone who comes to Liberty Island, with admission included in the price of the ferry ticket.
From the outside, the glass walls and copper-colored roof appear to be rising out of the earth, with a giant staircase rising to a rooftop terrace at the center.
The entire structure is meant to connect to Lady Liberty, using the same granite that's part of the statue pedestal.
Inside, there are three main gallery spaces, starting with a theater where visitors walk through as they watch a film that goes into how the idea for the statue came about, the efforts that went into its making in France and its arrival in the New York harbor, as well as talking about what liberty meant then and what it means in the current day.
Another gallery goes into the building of the statue, with exhibits meant to show what it would have been like in Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi's studio, and the models and molds used to make it, as well as a replica of the statue's foot.
Another section shows how iconic the statue has become, not only in American culture but around the world, with comic book covers, decorative plates, and dolls all using the statue's image.
In the final section, visitors are encouraged to take digital self-portraits and add their thoughts on what liberty means to them, as they look at the original torch and a replica of the statue's face.
In conjunction with the museum's opening, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which spearheaded the effort to raise the $100 million in private-sector funds for the project, also developed an app with Apple to bring aspects of the museum to people who cannot visit in person.