The Statue of Liberty’s crown, pedestal, and museum will be shut down for nearly a year starting October 29th in order to take a “major step in bringing [the] 19th century icon into the 21st century,” according Ken Salazar, Interior Secretary.
The closure will come just one day after the statue celebrates its 125th anniversary, stemming from it being given as a gift from France in 1886 to serve as a symbol of freedom.
Although the view of the Statue of Liberty itself will still generally be able to be viewed, the Interior Department noted that updates to the landmark museum will include two stairways being separated and one getting an addition of a wall for safety, elevators being replaced, restrooms being updated, as well as updates to the mechanical, electrical, and fire-suppression systems.
The contract to do the renovations was given to Joseph A. Natoli Construction Corporation of New Jersey on Wednesday, and will reportedly cost north of $27 million.
David Luchsinger, superintendent of the monument and of Elis Island, noted that although the Statue itself will be closed, Ellis Island will still be open for those that planned to visit Liberty Island. He said that most people don’t actually get into the Statue and instead just go around it and get their photos taken, so it wouldn’t really cause much tourists or locals that planned to visit it.
Lady Liberty was closed shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks because fear of safety, but the pedestal was reopened three years later, and finally the statue itself was reopened two years ago.
The hope is that the Statue of Liberty will be reopened by October 28, 2012 — the 126th anniversary of the Statue.