Statue of Liberty's Original Torch – New York, New York - Atlas Obscura

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Statue of Liberty's Original Torch

Statue of Liberty Museum

Lady Liberty's first beacon of enlightenment is now displayed in a museum near the statue. 


Towering over a tiny chunk of land in New York Harbor, the Statue of Liberty has greeted millions of tourists and immigrants that come to the United States through New York City. The iconic Lady Liberty clutches a torch in her raised hand, which symbolizes enlightenment. But the light she holds up as a beacon today isn’t the original.

Dedicated in 1886 as a gift from France, the last 100-odd years of weathering the elements has taken its toll on the monument. Its color changed from copper to blue-green, and even its signature accessory has been replaced.

The original torch held in Lady Liberty’s raised hand was swapped for a newer, more efficient design in 1984. Fortunately, the original torch was not thrown out when the current version took its place two years later. Rather, it was placed in the museum below, in the statue pedestal.

In 2018, the original torch was removed from the pedestal and relocated to the neighboring Statue of Liberty Museum, which opened in May 2019. 

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