Tags: torch | statue of liberty | museum | ellis island

Statue of Liberty's Original Torch Moved to Museum

a runner is shown at sunset in the foreground shadow with the statue of liberty outlined in the darkness in the distance
(Julio Cortez/AP)

By    |   Thursday, 15 November 2018 09:11 PM

Lady Liberty has lost her torch — but it is in good hands.

The original 3,600-pound gold torch that was in the Statue of Liberty's right hand was removed in 1984 and replaced with a replica after a century of wear and tear.

The National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation determined the original flame was too damaged to repair; however, it has remained housed in the base of the statue.

Until Thursday.

As visitors watched in awe, the fragile giant flame was slowly trucked across Liberty Island to its new home in a $100 million museum that will open in May 2019, the Voice of America reported.

It was the latest chapter for an icon that "has crossed many miles in its lifetime,'' Stephen Briganti, president and chief executive of the foundation, told VOA.

The torch left France in 1876 for the United States, where it was exhibited at the Centennial celebration in Philadelphia and then in New York City's Madison Square Park. The trip was intended to raise funds to pay for the statue's pedestal, Briganti said.

It went back to Paris in 1882, then returned to the New York Harbor along with other crated pieces of the statue in 1885. The torch was then held high by Lady Liberty from 1886 to 1984, but modifications to the flame changed its original design over the years.

The flame resembled a stained-glass sculpture lying on its specially designed flatbed truck, VOA reported — and park superintendent John Piltzecker explained that is because sculptor Gutzon Borglum, who also designed Mount Rushmore, "put all the holes in it with amber glass'' during a 1916 redesign.

"It led to the flame's deterioration," he said.

The torch was further weakened by the Black Tom explosion in 1916, an act of German sabotage at a munitions plant in nearby Jersey City, New Jersey, VOA reported.

The 1980s gilt flame Lady Liberty now hoists over New York harbor restores sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi's original design, officials told VOA.

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The original 3,600-pound gold torch that was in the Statue of Liberty's right hand was moved from the base of the statue to a museum that is soon to be opened.
torch, statue of liberty, museum, ellis island
Thursday, 15 November 2018 09:11 PM
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