New York’s iconic Statue of Liberty is to close its doors on October 28, 2011 for a year to undergo a £16.8m renovation project. The island itself will remain open to visitors however the statue will close her doors to the public on the 125th anniversary of her dedication from France.
It’s not the first time the statue has been closed to the public; in July 1916 it had to be shut for 10 days after a nearby explosion caused minor damage to the right arm.
It was closed again in 1938 for seven months for a minor refurbishment and again in 1984 when it required major repairs and upgrading, during which the statue was practically obscured from view due to the vast amount of scaffolding needed. It was two years before it reopened.
Following the devastating terrorist attacks in September 2001, the whole island was closed to the public with immediate effect. Access to the island was granted again by the end of the year; however the statue itself could not reopen due to the difficulty in evacuating the public in the case of an emergency.
In 2004, the pedestal of the statue was reopened following a multi million dollar security upgrade, then as a ‘special gift’ to the people of America, the crown was reopened on July 4th 2009, but the number of daily visitors was limited.
New fire safety instructions mean that in an emergency the statue has to be evacuated within two hours which will require improvements to the lifts and stairwells. Along with this, the electrical systems will also be upgraded and the toilets improved and modernised.