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Saturday, September 17, 2011

Task 12 - Visit the Statue of Liberty & Climb to the Crown

The Crown as viewed from the Pedestal.
Nikon D80 170mm f/5.6 ISO-200 1/500sec.

Of 850+ photos this is the photo I am most proud of.
(12) Visit the Statue of Liberty & Climb to the Crown

4- Stars

The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift of friendship from the people of France over 100 years ago to the people of the United States and is a universal symbol and icon of freedom and democracy in the world. It was given in recognition of a friendship established during the American Revolution.

The idea of the Statue originated around 1865 with Edouard de Laboulaye who saw the United States as a country that had proved that democracy was a viable type of government after having just survived a Civil War and abolished slavery. De Laboulaye also saw the gift as a way to reflect his wish for a democracy in France.  

Artist Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, who was known for large-scale work, was commissioned to design this sculpture. Nothing happened for some time, but finally (in 1874) Bartholdi came to the United States to look for a location for his monument. He saw Bedloe's Island from his ship as he sailed into the New York Harbor, and realized it would be a perfect location - since here his statue would always have an audience.

"Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World", which is the full title of Bartholdi's work was fashioned in the style of Greco-Roman art. Bartholdi used a technique called repousse to create her copper skin - hammering out each piece of copper until it was only 3/32 of an inch thick. Bartholdi recruited French engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel to build a skeleton for his statue. Eiffel designed a massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue's copper skin to move independently- yet stand upright. This flexibility is needed to allow the Statue to sway in the sometimes violent harbor winds.

Since the Statue was a joint effort between America and France, it was agreed that the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and assembly. In France, public fees, various forms of entertainment and items with the Statue on it were ways to raise money. This was also tried in the United States- but with limited results. Joseph Pulitzer stepped in and was able to raise the remaining money for the pedestal using his newspaper "The World".

He did so by offering to print the names of anyone who donated money. This was a win-win for him and the statue because each donation also lead to the sale of more newspapers of families wishing for a copy of the paper with their names printed.

The Statue was completed in France in July of 1884, then disassembled and shipped to the United States. She arrived in NY In June 1885. Once the pedestal was finished, the statue was re-assembled in four months.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. She was cared for by the Lighthouse Board, the War Department. In 1924 she was designated a National Monument and then cared for by the National Park Service after 1933

Bedloe's Island was renamed Liberty Island in 1956 in honor of its most famous resident and in 1965 President Lyndon B Johnson added Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Standing 305 feet from the ground to the tip of her torch, Lady Liberty has welcomed immigrants and visitors to New York for well over a century with the lofty words carved into the base: "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

In May of 1982, in anticipation of the Statue's 100th birthday a restoration project was initiated. At the start of the Statue's restoration, the United Nations in 1984 designated the Statue of Liberty as a World Heritage Site. The newly restored Statue opened to the public on July 5, 1986 during Liberty Weekend, which celebrated her centennial.

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 resulted in the closure of Liberty Island. The island re-opened after 100 days, however the Statue remained closed until August 3, 2004 when the pedestal level was opened for visitation. On July 4, 2009, the Crown of the Statue of Liberty was reopened to the public. Visitors must make a reservation to climb to the top of the Pedestal or to the Statue's Crown.   

The Statue of Liberty Museum

The Statue of Liberty Museum still encases the original torch, a wonder of glass and steel. The core of the museum, the Statue of Liberty exhibit, is located on the second floor in the pedestal of the Statue and offers historical context, photos, prints, videos, and oral histories of the people who came to these shores.

Panorama taken from the pedastle of the Statue of Liberty


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