The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor today differs little from the one given to the United States by France in the late 19th century. However, when Frederic Auguste Bartholdi sculpted the original, he did not see the Statue of Liberty as a tourist attraction. Rather, “Liberty Enlightening the World” was conceived as a lighthouse, with a lookout manning the platform of the torch. Bartholdi’s original design called for light emanating from the crown only for symbolic and aesthetic reasons.
To better reflect the iconic role the Statue of Liberty plays in American life and her towering role in American culture, lighting was designed to emphasize her height. Fixtures concealed within five bunker depressions around the perimeter of the island provide light at gradually increasing levels from the fort, to the pedestal and up the statue. The brightest lights illuminate Liberty’s face and crown. Other lighting highlights features such as the folds of her gown and the colonnades of the pedestal.