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Secrets behind the Statue of Liberty Torch

The Statue of Liberty, a majestic figure in New York Harbor, draws over four million visitors annually. 

High above, in Lady Liberty’s raised hand, shines her torch—a symbol of enlightenment and freedom that captures people’s imaginations worldwide.

Standing over 4.9 meters (16 feet) tall and weighing 3,600 pounds, this torch is crafted from copper and adorned with gold leaf, serving as a beacon of hope for immigrants arriving in the United States. 

Although the torch is a widely admired icon, only a handful of visitors have had the chance to uncover the secrets it holds inside. Now, visitors cannot enter the Statue of Liberty torch. 

The torch can only be seen from the ferry crossing New York Harbor, offering a unique perspective on this historic symbol. 

Join us as we delve into the mysteries of the Statue of Liberty torch, exploring its fascinating history and the limited access it offers today.

Original Torch of Statue of Liberty

The original torch of the Statue of Liberty, a masterpiece designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, journeyed from France to America in 1885, marking the first arrival of any part of the statue in New York. 

Bartholdi envisioned the torch as a lighthouse, guiding newcomers to the shores of freedom with its light. 

To fulfill this vision, electric lights were installed within the torch right before the statue’s dedication in 1886, aiming to cast a welcoming glow across the harbor.

Despite these efforts, the torch’s lights proved to be less effective than hoped. 

Over the years, attempts were made to improve its beaconing capability by modifying the original copper flame. 

These modifications included drilling holes in the flame to allow light to shine more brightly, but these attempts fell short of expectations.

In a significant alteration in 1916, sculptor Gutzon Borglum introduced amber glass panels to the torch to enhance its luminosity. 

However, this well-intended modification inadvertently led to leaks and damage to the statue’s arm, which later led to the replacement of the torch on the Statue of Liberty.

Did you know you can see the Statue at night? That’s all thanks to some floodlights put up around Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty torch balcony.
Surprisingly, these lights weren’t added until the 1950s! Compliment your Statue of Liberty visit with views from night cruises!

What Can You Find Inside Statue of Liberty Torch?

The torch of the Statue of Liberty is intended to symbolize enlightenment, guiding immigrants to the United States with its light. 

It was once accessible to visitors from within the monument.

Visitors had to ascend a spiral staircase to reach the Statue of Liberty torch balcony. Check what’s inside the Statue of Liberty.

This small observation deck inside the Statue of Liberty torch offered unparalleled sights, from the city skyline to the expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

Inside the torch, visitors could see the structural framework supporting the gold-leafed copper flame, lighting mechanisms (originally designed to function as a lighthouse), and windows around the flame for light to shine through. 

However, due to safety concerns and structural limitations, Statue of Liberty torch access was closed in 1916.

Despite its closure, the torch remains an integral part of Lady Liberty and continues to captivate the imaginations of millions.

Now, after renovations and the installation of the new torch in 1986 (a replica of Bartholdi’s original design), the torch now features a flame covered in 24k gold leaf, which reflects the sun’s rays during the day and is illuminated by lights at night.

For those interested in the real Statue of Liberty Torch, the Statue of Liberty Museum, which opened in May 2019, offers historical insights and exhibits about the statue’s construction and restoration, including the torch.

When Did the Statue of Liberty Torch Close?

Access to the inside of the Statue of Liberty’s torch has been restricted to the public since 1916, 30 years after the Statue’s dedication.

Safety concerns arose due to the torch’s design, which allowed water to enter into it during severe weather, leading to rust and structural damage.

The Statue of Liberty torch access was permanently closed to visitors to preserve this national treasure.

As a result, there’s no public access to the interior of the torch, and visitors cannot enter or find anything inside it as part of a tour.

Since then, efforts have been made to restore and maintain the torch, ensuring its continued presence as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

Curious about the views of the Statue of Liberty torch room? Here’s a sneak peek inside the Statue of Liberty torch to satisfy your curiosity!

Statue of Liberty the Torch’s Replacement

During the 1980s, officials decided to swap out the old torch for a new one to prevent any further damage to the monumental and historically significant original torch of Statue of Liberty.

So, in 1985, as part of the statue’s 100-year celebration and restoration project, a replica of Bartholdi’s original design was installed in its place.

Today’s Statue of Liberty torch is similar to the original one, featuring a copper flame covered in real gold.

The original Statue of Liberty torch has now been preserved and is displayed in the Liberty Museum. 

While you can’t physically enter the torch kept at the museum, you’ll still get an immersive experience and can learn about its significance and history.

View from the Statue of Liberty Torch:

Visitors to the Statue of Liberty once had the unique opportunity to stand on the torch’s balcony, gazing out at New York’s iconic skyline.

From this vantage point, towering skyscrapers like the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building stood out, set against the expansive backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean. 

This offered a peaceful contrast to the lively scenes and the hustle and bustle of the city. 

Looking southward, the bustling New York Harbor came into view, its waters dotted with ferries and ships crisscrossing in constant motion.

Although access to the torch has been closed off for safety reasons, the crown of the Statue of Liberty still offers a chance to experience breathtaking views. Get tickets to the Statue of Liberty Crown.

To reach the exclusive crown area of the Statue of Liberty, visitors ascend a spiral staircase inside the statue, a journey that leads to one of the most unique viewpoints in the city. 

From the crown’s observation deck, large windows open up panoramic views over New York City, showcasing its famous landmarks from an extraordinary perspective. 

While the torch may remain out of reach, the crown observation deck offers a similar thrill and a chance to marvel at the city’s beauty from a special vantage point.

Statue of Liberty Torch Tickets:

Even though you can’t go inside the torch of the Statue of Liberty, you can still visit the Statue and its museum by buying tour tickets. 

These tickets provide access to the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal and crown levels, where you can get amazing views of the harbor and see many interesting things within the monument.

You can also go into the Statue of Liberty Museum, which displays the original torch. 

Getting your Statue of Liberty tickets early is good because they can run out fast, especially when many tourists visit.

Here’s a list of the top Statue of Liberty tickets, so choose the one that suits you best!

Statue of Liberty Tour and Ellis Island Guided Walking Tour

  • Complete Statue of Liberty tour.
  • Small groups, maximum 25 people.
  • Stunning views of the skyline and Lady Liberty.
  • 4-hour tour to the Statue of Liberty Museum.
  • Ellis Island tour with pre-reserved tickets & local guide.
Buy This Ticket

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island with Ferry Ride

  • Self-guided tour of Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
  • Multilingual audio guides available
  • Statue of Liberty Museum visit with original torch display.
  • Roundtrip ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
  • Ticket Price: $31
Buy This Ticket

Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Guided Ferry Tour

  • Guided tour covering both Liberty and Ellis Island.
  • Round-trip ferry tickets
  • Museum admission
  • Tour starts at historic Castle Clinton in Battery Park.
  • Ticket Price: $44
Buy This Ticket

Private Ferry Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Tou

  • Private Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island tour.
  • Professional guide
  • Round-trip ferry tickets, all entrance fees.
  • Access to the museum on Liberty Island.
  • Ticket Price: $75
Buy This Ticket

FAQs.

Can you go to the Statue of Liberty Torch?

No, access to the interior of the Statue of Liberty torch is currently closed to the public due to safety concerns and structural limitations.

However, visitors can purchase tickets and explore other parts of the statue, including the pedestal, crown levels, and Statue of Liberty Museum, where the original torch is displayed.

Why was the original torch removed from the Statue of Liberty?

The original torch was replaced during the statue’s centennial restoration project in 1985 to prevent further damage caused by water ingress and structural issues.

The replacement torch (a replica of Bartholdi’s original design), was installed as part of efforts to preserve the Statue for future generations.

How long has the Statue of Liberty torch been closed?

The closure of the Statue of Liberty torch occurred in 1916, just 30 years after the statue’s dedication.

Safety concerns arose from water entering the torch during severe weather, leading to rust and structural damage.

Since then, access to the torch has remained closed to preserve this national treasure.

What does the torch mean on the Statue of Liberty?

The torch held by the Statue of Liberty symbolizes enlightenment, liberty, and freedom.

It serves as a beacon of hope and inspiration, representing the principles of democracy and liberty upon which the United States was founded.

Did the Statue of Liberty have a real flame?

The original torch of the Statue of Liberty was designed to function as a lighthouse, and it originally contained electric lights.

However, the flame was not continuously lit due to technical issues and safety concerns, and efforts to illuminate it were largely unsuccessful.

The current torch replica, installed in 1985, features a copper flame covered in real gold leaf.

Is the Statue of Liberty torch gold?

Yes, the flame of the current torch replica installed in 1985 is made of copper and covered in real gold leaf, similar to the original design by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi.

This gold covering adds to the symbolic significance of the torch as a beacon of liberty and enlightenment.

How old is the Statue of Liberty torch?

The original torch of the Statue of Liberty dates back to the statue’s dedication in 1886, making it over a century old.

However, the current torch replica, installed in 1985 as part of the statue’s centennial restoration project, is a faithful reproduction of Bartholdi’s original design.

Featured Image: Mateus Maia on Unsplash

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