Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
CONTACT:Edie Shean-Hammond 215-597-0865 (NPS)
For Immediate Release:August 3, 2004
John Wright, 202-208-6416 (DOI


The Statue of Liberty's Doors Officially Open
Enhanced visitor experience features new interior platform viewing area, advance ticket reservations systems, safety, security and accessibility upgrades


New York City, NY, August 3, 2004 - Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton today welcomed visitors from around the world to experience the improved access to the Statue of Liberty, America's monument to freedom.

A new plan for improved access provides park visitors with opportunities for a safe, inspirational, and interactive experience at this important national icon. Under the plan, visitors will have close-up views of the Statue, will be able to tour the Statue of Liberty Museum, and enjoy a 360-degree panoramic view of New York Harbor from the Observation Deck.

Closed since September 11, 2001, the monument has undergone extensive renovations and technology upgrades to enhance the visitor experience, including guided tours and programs by park rangers, a reservation system, and increased handicapped access.

A new glass-ceiling viewing area also has been created inside Lady Liberty that features a ranger presentation, with enhanced lighting and video images, that enables visitors to see into the skeletal structure of the Statue, appreciate Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's magnificent artistry and experience the soaring architecture of this 19th century engineering marvel designed by Gustave Eiffel.

"Now, more than ever, the Statue of Liberty represents an evolving symbol of freedom, inspiration, and resilience for people the world over," said Secretary Norton. "We need to give visitors an experience to remember as well as protecting this national treasure for future generations to enjoy."

To safeguard the monument, her visitors and park employees, numerous safety and security measures have been put into place. Key improvements include: heightened security on and around the Islands, secondary security screening prior to entering the Statue, an advanced tour reservation system, additional emergency lighting and exits, upgraded and expanded fire detection and suppression systems and a series of compartmentalized spaces, expanded smoke detection and speaker systems on and around the Island, additional communication systems to alert visitors with safety messages, and new and upgraded elevators, ramps and evacuation routes.

In addition, staff and contractors of both Ellis and Liberty Islands have participated in all-hazard emergency preparedness training as a part of the Department of Homeland Security's Citizen Corps Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training earlier this year.

"Many of the numerous security and safety issues we addressed and resolved were concerns prior to September 11th," said Fran. P. Mainella, director of the National Park Service. "The safety and security of all employees and visitors is our number one priority and as a result of the overwhelming support from public and private partnerships, the Statue of Liberty is not only safer - she's better than ever in all respects."

Supported by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the official opening day ceremony was emceed by CNN Anchor Aaron Brown and featured patriotic musical performances by:

  • The U.S. Army's 319th Statue of Liberty Band,
  • The 82nd Airborne Division "All-American Chorus,"
  • The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) Herald Trumpeters,
  • Tiffany Evans, 11-year-old Columbia Records Recording Artist,
  • The multi-cultural Young People's Chorus of New York City.

In addition to the musical portions of the program, the ceremony included:

  • A Presentation of the Colors by the Joint Services Color Guard of the U.S. Armed Forces,
  • An air show above the monument featuring F-15 aircraft representing the Massachusetts Air National Guard stationed at Otis Air Force Base,
  • The Liberty Wing from the United Kingdom,
  • New York City Fire Boat shows,
  • And, a collection of patriotic flags that flew at Ground Zero, the Pentagon and the crash site in Shanksville, PA on display in memory of 9/11 victims.

Also in attendance were local and national government officials including: Secretary Norton; Fran P. Mainella, Director of the National Park Service; Cynthia Garrett, Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island; and, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Editor's Note:

B-Roll of the interior and exterior of the Statue of Liberty, as well as interviews with key spokespersons, is available for downlink on Tuesday, August 3 between 10:00-10:30 a.m. at the following satellite coordinates:
IA6/ Transponder 22 C-band
Downlink Frequency: 4140
Polarization: Horizontal

Statue of Liberty Fact Sheet



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