Bigger Museum Will Give Lady Liberty’s Crowds More to Do Than Snap Selfies

It is time for a backyard construction project on an island with a resident population of one.

By James Barron

It is time for a backyard construction project on an island with a resident population of one and a transient population of 4.3 million.

The one will never notice, unless she has eyes in the back of her large green head, but the 4.3 million people who visit the Statue of Liberty every year probably will.

The project, a $70 million museum, is intended to make the visitors’ time on Liberty Island more meaningful, more enjoyable and perhaps less crowded. The museum, to be announced at a ceremony on Thursday, has been designed to absorb the crush of people arriving on ferries that dock every 20 to 30 minutes.

The crowds have grown since the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as access to the statue itself has been limited amid increased security. The museum will give those not among the lucky few who actually get into the statue something to look for besides the perfect place for a selfie with the statue in the background.

Stephen A. Briganti, the president and chief executive of the private Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, said the new museum would do what the current one, in a former fort beneath the base of the statue, does, but on a larger and more accessible scale: tell the story of one of the world’s most famous symbols.

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