New Statue Of Liberty Museum Opening Thursday

May 14, 2019 - 9:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- The Statue of Liberty will be more welcoming than ever with the grand opening of a brand new museum this Thursday.

The multilevel glass museum features the statue's original torch and three gallery spaces, tripling the size of the old museum which was located in the statue's pedestal.

"It's just really nice to have it out here in daylight where everyone can see it cause it was sort of buried inside of the fort for the last 30 years," the museum's lead architect, Cameron Ringness, said of the torch.

Superintendent John Piltzecker says in addition to expanding, they also had the opportunity to reimagine the exhibits in new ways.

"Technology has changed, we have a history committee that we've worked with to tell the story," Piltzecker said. "We have what we call an 'immersive theater' that people can walk through which is an audio visual experience."

Related: This App Lets You Look Out From the Statue of Liberty's Torch​

The museum opens as the country grapples with immigration.

"We've had a love-hate with immigration. We open the doors, we close the doors, we open the doors, we close the doors," said Stephen Briganti, president and CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. "The overwhelming backdrop to the Statue of Liberty is the fact that so many people who came to America whose lives -- maybe yours, I know mine --- were different becaue of what our ancestors did and that's what we celebrate."

"People would arrive here obviously immigrants over the last centuries and they fall to their knees crying when they would see the statue," said Ringness, who felt the museum had an obligation to those people and their descendants. "To put something here to honor that was such an important feeling. I felt very much like I can't imagine something more significant and a more scared site."