Everything You Need to Know About the Statue of Liberty

From the history to the location to the symbolism, we can help you learn everything you need to know about the Statue of Liberty before you visit. Curious about where it came from, how tall it is, or even how much it would be worth if you melted it down and sold it? We’ve got the answers, and you can learn even more and get a magnificent view when you take an informative tour with one of our expert guides. But in the meantime, here are a few frequently asked questions and answers that are helpful to know before you go.

The Origins and Purpose of the Statue of Liberty

Who Created the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty was designed by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. The Statue of Liberty became his best-known work, although you can see other examples around the U.S., like the Bartholdi Fountain in Washington, D.C. Bartholdi got engineering assistance from Gustave Eiffel (of Eiffel Tower fame) while creating the statue.

Where Was the Statue of Liberty Constructed?
The Statue of Liberty’s head, arm, and exterior were built in France at the Gaget, Gauthier & Co. workshop. The pylon tower that provides structural support was built at Eiffel’s factory.

How Many Years Did it Take to Build the Statue of Liberty, and When Was it Finished?
It took nine years to build the Statue of Liberty in France, with construction ending in 1885. Then, it had to be disassembled and shipped to New York City. Once it arrived in America and its pedestal was ready, it took four months to rebuild the statue.

What Is the Statue of Liberty Made Out Of?
The Statue of Liberty is made from a layer of copper that can be compared to the thickness of two pennies stuck together. Underneath this, there’s an internal structure of cast iron and stainless steel.

Why Was the Statue of Liberty Given to the United States by the French?
The Statue of Liberty was given in friendship to commemorate the alliance between the Americans and the French during the American Revolution. During a time when the French people were still divided between democracy and support of the monarchy, political thinker Édouard de Laboulaye thought this gesture would give hope to French liberals who wanted democracy to prevail.

Who Was Originally Supposed to Receive the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty was almost given to Egypt to be placed at the Suez Canal because Bartholdi was very inspired by structures like the Sphinx and the pyramids.

Who Was Used as the Model for the Statue of Liberty?
No one knows for certain who the model was. There are many theories, ranging from speculation that she was originally an Arab woman, when the statue was intended for Egypt, to theories that the statue was based on Bartholdi’s wife or mother.

How Did They Transport the Statue of Liberty?
The statue was disassembled in France, packed into 214 wooden crates, and sent to the United States by ship.

Value and Ownership of the Statue of Liberty

How Much Money Is the Statue of Liberty Worth?
If the Statue of Liberty’s worth was valued on the material costs alone, it would be worth $227,610 as scrap metal.

Which State Owns the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty is not owned by either New York or New Jersey, though Liberty Island is technically a part of New York. The statue and the island it sits on are owned by the federal government and maintained by the National Park Service.

Information on the Inscriptions

What Are the Words of the Poem Written on the Statue of Liberty?
The sonnet is called The New Colossus. It reads:

"Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “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!”

Who Wrote the Inscription on the Statue of Liberty?
Poet Emma Lazarus wrote The New Colossus.

Where Is the Inscription on the Statue of Liberty?
The poem is on a bronze plaque placed on the inner wall of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.

What Date Is Written on the Book the Statue of Liberty Holds?
Her tablet reads, “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI,” Roman numerals for the date of the Declaration of Independence: July 4, 1776.

What Is the Significance of the Statue of Liberty to Immigration?
Lazarus’s poem speaks of the statue as a beacon for immigrants seeking refuge. For many immigrants arriving in New York City, the statue became an emblem and a sign that they had arrived safely in America.

The Statue’s Distinct Green Color

What Made the Statue of Liberty Turn Green?
The Statue of Liberty is green because of a natural weathering process of air and water on copper called oxidation. This became a patina over time, a copper carbonate that protects the material beneath.

When Did the Statue of Liberty Begin to Turn Green, and How Long Did it Take?
The change would have happened gradually, so it’s difficult to say when it began, but color images show that the Statue of Liberty was completely green by 1920.

Finding and Visiting the Statue of Liberty

Where Is the Exact Location of the Statue of Liberty?
The coordinates for the Statue of Liberty are 40.6892° N, 74.0445° W.

Which Island Is the Statue of Liberty On?
The Statue of Liberty stands on the aptly named Liberty Island.

What Body of Water Surrounds the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty is in Upper New York Bay, more commonly known as New York Harbor. It is fed by the Hudson River.

Is the Statue of Liberty in New York or New Jersey?
Liberty Island is federally owned, but it’s considered an exclave of New York and technically part of Manhattan. It’s surrounded by the waters of New Jersey.

Can You See the Statue of Liberty From the Brooklyn Bridge?
Yes! You can see the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge.

When Was the Statue of Liberty Opened to the Public?
The Statue of Liberty first opened in 1886. In recent decades, the statue has closed a few times for needed restoration work and for security reasons, with the last major closure taking place in 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. The statue was re-opened on July 4, 2013.

When Was Access Closed to the Statue of Liberty’s Torch?
The Statue of Liberty’s torch has been closed since a massive explosion on nearby Black Tom Island on July 30, 1916. The blast obliterated the island, and shrapnel hit the statue’s arm. Today, access to the torch, via a narrow 40-foot ladder, is restricted to National Park Service staff.

How Many Visitors Does the Statue of Liberty Get Each Year?
In 2017, about 4.44 million people visited the island, and many more viewed the Statue of Liberty from the water, like the Ellis Island immigrants did. Tourists often find that the statue’s full majesty is best appreciated from a small distance away. Liberty Cruise NYC can make sure you get the best views of the Statue of Liberty, perfect for selfies and family photos!

Duplicates of the Statue

Is There a Copy of the Statue of Liberty in France?
Yes. This replica was given to France by the U.S. in 1889, and it stands on the Île aux Cygnes, an island on the river Seine, in Paris. It faces west, toward New York City.

Where Is the Third Statue of Liberty?
There is a small replica of the Statue of Liberty in Tokyo, Japan.

Height and Specs

How Tall is the Statue of Liberty, Including the Base?
Counting the base, the Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall. From the top of the base, it’s 151 feet tall.

How Many Stories Is the Statue of Liberty?
The statue’s height is equal to that of a 22-story building from the ground to the top of the torch’s flame.

How Many Steps Does it Take to Get to the Top of the Pedestal of the Statue of Liberty?
There are 215 steps from the lobby to the top of the pedestal.

Which Way Is the Statue of Liberty Facing?
The Statue of Liberty faces southeast.