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STATUE OF LIBERTY MUSEUM OPENING CELEBRATION FEATURED KEYNOTE ADDRESS FROM OPRAH WINFREY AND LIVE PERFORMANCES BY GLORIA ESTEFAN AND TONY BENNETT
Seth Meyers Hosted the Event; The 500+ Guests Included Diane von Furstenberg & Barry Diller, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, David Letterman, Chelsea Clinton & Marc Mazvinsky, Johnny Galecki, Stephen Briganti, Edwin Schlossberg & Caroline Kennedy, Nicholas Garrison, and Douglas Phelps
Opening Celebration presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. tonight hosted the opening celebration for the Statue of Liberty Museum on Liberty Island, where Oprah Winfrey received the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Award and delivered the keynote address, and Gloria Estefan and Tony Bennett performed live. The museum, which celebrates the Statue of Liberty’s history, influence, and legacy in the world, and gives visitors an opportunity to get an up-close view of the Statue’s original torch, opens to the public on the afternoon of May 16, 2019, immediately following a dedication ceremony.
Seth Meyers served as master of ceremonies for a crowd of more than 500 business, civic, cultural, and philanthropic leaders includingThe Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation President and CEO Stephen Briganti, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation campaign chairperson Diane von Furstenberg & Barry Diller, Michael Bloomberg, Jeff Bezos, David Letterman, Gayle King, Andy Cohen, Chelsea Clinton & Marc Mazvinsky, Edwin Schlossberg & Caroline Kennedy, Johnny Galecki, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, David Copperfield, Julie Taymor, Ann & Andrew Tisch, Huma Abedin, Marie Chantal, Bennett Miller, Fenton Bailey, Randy Barbato, Dasha Zhukova, Derek Blasberg, Dustin Yellin, Ricky Van Veen, Tina Brown, Wendi Murdoch, Chiara Ferragamo, Nicholas Garrison, Douglas Phelps, Emily Rafferty, and Fred Dixon.
To coincide with the opening of the Statue of Liberty Museum, the Foundation presented the inaugural Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Award to Oprah Winfrey. The award, forged from original materials from both monuments, recognizes Ms. Winfrey’s contributions to the American experience and the global struggle for liberty and freedom.
“Tonight is a momentous occasion that forever ensures that the history, meaning, and significance of the Statue of Liberty will be passed down for generations to come,” said Stephen Briganti, President and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “The opening of this museum is the latest milestone in the Statue’s history, and the Foundation is thrilled to celebrate this moment with the people who brought this dream to fruition.”
“It has been an honor and a privilege to be involved in making the Statue of Liberty Museum a reality,” said Diane von Furstenberg, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation board member and Chairperson of the Statue of Liberty Museum Campaign. “I’ve discovered that She truly has the power to make things happen. She has a magic torch and it has been an exciting journey to uncover Her history and share it with others.”
The opening celebration of the new Statue of Liberty Museum was presented by Liberty Mutual Insurance. To commemorate the event, Liberty Mutual also commissioned a poem by United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith (2017-2019) as a gift to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and the museum. A video of Smith reading the poem, called “Harbor,” was played for guests.
“Lady Liberty has been our company’s proud symbol for nearly a century and represents our lasting mission to help people embrace today and confidently pursue tomorrow,” said Tim Sweeney, President, Global Retail Markets at Liberty Mutual Insurance, and Board member of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. “It was an honor to commission United States Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith to write a piece to commemorate the opening of the Museum, and the resulting ‘Harbor’ embodies a sense of communion and community across all forms of difference.”
The 26,000 square foot museum features three gallery spaces, each one meant to inspire visitors and educate them about the Statue of Liberty in interactive and thought-provoking ways. The experience culminates with an up-close view of Liberty’s most iconic symbol, her original torch, held high for nearly 100 years. Rescued from the elements and replaced in 1986, the torch is the most powerful artifact visitors encounter as they reach the end of the museum experience. The museum was conceived as a garden pavilion that would add to the experience of all visitors to Liberty Island, regardless of age or nationality. Merging landscape and building, the new museum’s roof is planted with native meadow grasses and offers visitors sweeping, panoramic views of Lady Liberty, lower Manhattan, and all of New York Harbor. Access to the museum is free with the purchase of a Statue Cruises ferry ticket to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
For more information about the Statue of Liberty Museum or visiting Liberty Island go to statueoflibertymuseum.org and follow the Foundation on social media at Facebook.com/StatueEllisFdn, Twitter @StatueEllisFdn, and Instagram @StatueEllisFdn.
ABOUT THE STATUE OF LIBERTY-ELLIS ISLAND FOUNDATION, INC. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization established in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restoration and preservation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. For more than 35 years the Foundation has collaborated with the U.S. Department of the Interior/National Park Service in what has become one of the most successful public-private partnership in U.S. history, having raised hundreds of millions of dollars. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created museums on both islands, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor®, the American Family Immigration History Center® and The Peopling of America Center®, which in 2015 transformed the museum on Ellis Island into the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. The Foundation oversaw the fundraising and construction of the new Statue of Liberty Museum which opened in May 2019. The organization’s endowment has funded over 200 projects that support these national treasures.