Statue of Liberty Celebrates 125 Years With High-Tech Addition


James Nicoll/AP Photo

The Statue of Liberty National Monument marks its 125 th anniversary today with a 21 st century flourish, the addition of webcams around its famous torch that will give people around the world a view previously off-limits to even the statue’s in-person visitors.

Five web cameras, donated by Earthcam Inc., have been mounted around Lady Liberty’s torch and will stream live video footage 24-hours a day, seven days a week of vistas of the New York City skyline, New York Harbor and the view looking down from her perch high above the ground.

Four of the cameras will point towards Ellis Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island and the Freedom Tower respectively.  The fifth camera, meanwhile, will give viewers an online only look at the torch itself, which has been off-limits to visitors since 1916.

Click here to see the live web cameras on

The new cameras will go live today during a ceremony marking the 125 th anniversary of the statue’s original dedication, which took place on October 29, 1886.

The public ceremony will include a naturalization ceremony with 125 candidates from 40 countries taking the oath of citizenship, and actress Sigourney Weaver reading the “Mother of Exiles” poem by Emma Lazarus that is the source of the statue’s famous “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free” welcome.

Just as Lady Liberty is opening itself to the masses through the Internet, it is closing down for in-person guests, but just temporarily.

Beginning Saturday, the statue will close for a year to undergo renovations, but Liberty Island will remain open for visitors, according to the National Park Service, which manages the facility.

The $27.25 million project will include upgrades to the 125-year-old pedestal and the 200-year-old fort base from which the statue rises.  When the work is complete, the statue’s interior will have new stairways and elevators, as well as improvements to the water and mechanical systems.

Good Morning America’s” Sam Champion was one of the last visitors to go inside Lady Liberty before she closed when he took a tour with Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar as his guide.

“I think she’s more significant today because she’s recognized around the world as a symbol of freedom,” Salazar told Champion as they climbed to the top of the statue’s crown, 265 feet high.

Lady Liberty, whose full name is “Liberty Enlightening the World,” was a gift from France to the United States, and it is recognized around the world as a symbol of freedom. The structure was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and designated as a National Monument in 1924.

The statue was closed after September 11 th for security reasons. The pedestal reopened in 2004, and the statue began readmitting visitors in 2009.

An estimated 3.5 million people visit Liberty Island every year.  On average, 204 people climb to the statue’s crown every day.