Statue of Liberty's Original Torch Completes Move to New Home

The original torch being lifted by crane with the Statue of Liberty in the background.
The original torch being lifted by crane into the new museum.

Kevin Daley/NPS

New York, NY (November 15, 2018) – The Statue of Liberty’s original torch moved into its new home inside the new Statue of Liberty Museum currently being built on Liberty Island. For nearly 100 years, the gold and copper marvel served as a beacon of freedom in the outstretched hand of Lady Liberty. As part of the Statue’s centennial restoration project In 1984, the torch was removed from atop the monument and placed on display inside the Statue of Liberty Monument’s pedestal. In November 1985, a replica of Bartholdi's original design was installed onto the Statue and formally dedicated during the July 4, 1986, Liberty Weekend centennial celebration.

Today, a team of engineers disassembled the torch and relocated it from the monument’s pedestal across Liberty Island to the new museum site. The torch relocation was led by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and the U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service. A special hydraulically stabilized transporter vehicle took the torch 470 feet across the island where it was lifted by crane into the new museum.

“The original torch is a beautiful object of art and exemplifies the American ideals of freedom and democracy - a true national treasure cared for by the National Park Service,” said John Piltzecker, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island. “That’s why I’m so pleased that The Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Foundation’s fundraising campaign has allowed us to relocate it to a more fitting place where all of our visitors, from across the nation and from around the world, will always be able to see it and be inspired by it.”

The 3,600-pound original torch will be the centerpiece of the new Statue of Liberty Museum, a 26,000-square-foot museum that will celebrate the Statue of Liberty’s history, influence, and legacy in the world. Visitors will get an up-close view of the iconic symbol in its new home in the Inspiration Gallery, which features floor-to-ceiling glass panels overlooking the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline. The museum will be free to visitors with the purchase of a ferry ticket to visit Liberty and Ellis Islands and is expected to open to the public in May 2019.

“For nearly a century, the Statue of Liberty’s original torch was viewed by millions of immigrants as they came to America in search of better lives. Unfortunately, today only one-fifth of the visitors who come to Liberty Island can enter the monument and see the original torch in person,” said Stephen Briganti, President, and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “We’re thrilled to be able to give all guests to Liberty Island the opportunity to see this unparalleled piece of American and world history firsthand, whether from within or outside of the museum.”

The Statue of Liberty Museum was designed by architecture firm FXCollaborative with exhibits created by experience design firm ESI Design. The structure is being built by Phelps Construction Group, which also moved the original torch to the new museum site.

“The moving of the torch from the pedestal into the museum represents a signification milestone in this project,” said Douglas Phelps, President of Phelps Construction Group. “We are honored to have been entrusted by the Foundation and the National Park Service to move this national treasure, and although it is not one of the most difficult things we have ever moved, it is certainly the most important.”

Last updated: December 11, 2018