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Foundation Projects at the Islands


The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created a museum in the Statue’s base and the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor® and the American Family Immigration History Center®.  Its endowment has funded over 200 projects at the islands.


Its recently completed project is one of the most compelling in its history – the creation of the Peopling of America Center® – which expands the Ellis Island Era to include the entire panorama of the American immigration experience from this country’s earliest days, right up to the present. The galleries that explore the pre-Ellis Era from 1550-1890 opened in October 2011. The post-Ellis galleries, covering arrivals from 1954 to the present, opened to the public on May 20, 2015. With the entire story of American immigration now being told, the museum has been renamed the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.


Current Project: The Statue of Liberty Museum

The Statue of Liberty is arguably one of the most recognizable figures from around the globe. Millions who cherish the ideals for which she stands make the journey every year to experience her history and grandeur in person. Yet sadly, of those 4.3 million annual visitors, only a small fraction can actually enter the monument due to increased security and visitor quotas.

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, in conjunction with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior will construct the first free-standing building on Liberty Island since the Statue herself—the Statue of Liberty Museum. This $100 million project is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The museum will encourage current citizens, new Americans and people throughout the world to learn the history of our national icons and explore and interpret the meaning of “liberty” thorough a comprehensive visitor experience.

Construction has begun on a stunning, glass-walled structure combining its island setting and relationship to the Statue in a functional, open environment. This museum will become a landmark in itself, attracting visitors from around the world to view its state of the art design and exhibition. The museum will merge landscape and building. It will be an extension of the park, providing new sitting, climbing and viewing spaces of the Statue, the Plaza and the city skyline. The museum will embody best practices for sustainable design including a green, visitor-friendly roof, geothermal systems and daylight optimization. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, the museum will be set above the 500 year flood and wave crest levels and built to sustain hurricane force winds.

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