The Statue of Liberty celebrated her birthday just as our new book, The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide,  was also being born.  If you want to read a fresh angle on Liberty, then don’t miss Vicki Arkoff’s expert guide in our New York chapter (pictured here, illustrated by Anna Johnson.) Even better, we have an additional F.A.Q for you, so you don’t have to pester the U.S. park rangers, when it’s your turn to get inside Liberty’s head.

Planning on a visit to the Statue of Liberty National Monument?  Wonderful, just don’t plan on asking the same old questions to the weary, but cordial, U.S. Park Rangers. Sure, it’s their job to repeat basic info all day, but give ‘em a break by studying up on the ten most frequently asked questions about the grand dame.

(1) How tall is the Statue of Liberty?  The Statue’s 305 feet and 1 inch from the ground to the tip of the flame. It is the equivalent height of a 22-story building. In 1886, it was the tallest structure in New York.

(2) When was it built?  The Statue of Liberty National Monument was completed on October 28, 1886.

(3) What’s it made of? The Statue of Liberty is made of copper only 3/32 inch thick, the same as two pennies put together.

(4) Why is the Statue green? The Statue’s copper has naturally oxidized to form its “patina” green coating. In many places, the patina is as thick as the copper behind it and is protecting the copper from naturally wearing away.

(5) Who is she?  The face of “Lady Liberty” is said to be modeled after the mother of the French sculptor, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. Curiously, Bartholdi originally intended to place a statue of a woman at the opening of theSuez Canal in 1869.

(6) How much does she weigh?  It’s not a polite question to ask any woman, of course, but the fact is that Lady Liberty is made up of 31 tons of copper and 125 tons of steel, plus her concrete foundation weighing a hefty 27,000 tons.

(7) What’s written on the Statue’s tablet?  “July IV, MDCCLXXVI.” That’s the date of American Independence, July 4, 1776, written in Roman numerals. It’s written on a tablet of law, held in the Statue’s left hand.

(8) Why is she holding a torch?  The torch is a symbol of enlightenment. The Statue of Liberty’s torch lights the way to freedom showing us the path to Liberty. Even the Statue’s official name represents her most important symbol “Liberty Enlightening the World.” The Statue’s current replacement torch, added in 1986, is a copper flame covered in 24K gold. It’s reflective of the sun’s rays in daytime and is lighted by 16 floodlights at night. The original torch was removed in 1984 and is currently inside the lobby of the monument.

(9) Why isn’t the torch open to the public? The torch has been closed since the “Black Tom” explosion of July 30, 1916, which was one of the largest acts of sabotage in theU.S. prior to thePearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941. Many people think they’ve been there and confuse it with climbing a spiral staircase which goes to the crown. National Park Service staff must climb a narrow 40 foot ladder to maintain the floodlights lighting the torch.

(10) Where’s the rest room?  Next to the cafeteria. Check the map in your free guide or just look for the signs. 

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