the Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is an artist's imposing projection of a woman
clothed with an indomitable resolve, yet the fine lines of the Statue
suggest delicate feminine chemistry. Truly, the symbol of freedom
to millions around the world has been majestically presented.
A different scenario is visible inside the Statue of Liberty, as
it symbolizes brutal strength because of the jumble of crisscrossing
wrought iron steel members that help support the massive structure.
The serene and almost elegant exterior failed to match the harmonious
clutter of various structural components that resemble more of a
skeleton made of metal. The central stairs is patterned after a
helical spring that looks more like the small intestine of a giant
Such was not the intention of Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor
commissioned to work on the Statue. But a huge structure such as
this one needs proper structural components to withstand the effects
of the natural elements. Thus, with the help of Alexander Gustave
Eiffel, a Structural Engineer, they designed the structural elements
inside the Statue of Liberty.
Together, Eiffel and Bartholdi devised a square tower like structure
with four giant posts with horizontal and diagonal web members of
wrought iron with a central circular staircase. From the tower emanates
metal webs that hold in place sheets of copper plates that clad
the exterior of the monument. The completed monument weighs a total
of 450,000 pounds, is almost 152 feet high and rests atop a granite
podium 154 feet in height. Though the inside of the Statue of Liberty
may not be as imposing as the exterior, its structural contribution
more than made up for its lack of aesthetic appeal.
Visitors to the monument can now look more closely inside the Statue
of Liberty and be in awe at the engineering marvel devised by the
men who painstakingly worked on the icon of freedom. With a glass
ceiling, improved audio system and lighting the structural components
inside is now more vividly recognizable. The old torch has been
supplanted with a new one, to keep it structurally sound. Though
still finished with gold plating, it is now equipped with a climate
control and an elevator as well.
The second floor of the podium or the pedestal houses the Statue
of Liberty exhibit which shows in detail the history and symbolism
applied to Lady Liberty. This is possible through museum objects,
photographs, prints, videos and oral histories. Also on display
are physical replicas of historical artifacts and descriptive text;
the Statue's face, foot and the original torch mounted in 1886.
Also at the museum inside the Statue of Liberty is the sonnet "New
Colossus" written by Emma Lazarus in 1883 as part of a literary
campaign to raise funds to complete the long delayed Statue's pedestal.
It never materialized and the manuscript was left to rot in the
dustbin. Incidentally the sonnet resurfaced and auctioned off, and
the money raised in the auction was used to complete the pedestal.
In 1903 a plaque was placed on the inner wall of the pedestal as
a tribute to the contribution of the sonnet and its author in the
final completion of the pedestal.