Gateway to Liberty and Freedom

Gateway to Liberty and Freedom

The message of American freedom rings true at the nation's Gateway to freedom: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Experience the nation's Gateway to freedom, with a visit to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, two living examples of America's commitment to freedom. Or visit Empty Sky, a memorial to those from New Jersey who lost their freedom on September 11, 2001 in the World Trade Center attacks.

At Ellis Island, visitors can relive the experience of more than 12 million immigrants who passed through its doors between 1892 and 1954, and retrace the history of the federal immigration-processing center that opened on Jan. 1, 1892. After undergoing a massive $162 million restoration, Ellis Island today offers visitors an array of programs including a genealogy workshop, theatrical productions based on actual immigrant accounts, a learning center, a museum and a new family history research facility.

In immediate proximity to Ellis Island is the Statue of Liberty, France's gift to the United States that was designed to commemorate the Centennial of American Independence. In July of 1884, French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, with assistance from French structural engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower), completed the statue that was officially titled "Liberty Enlightening the World." One year later, in June of 1885, the statue arrived in New York Harbor. Dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island, formerly Bedloe's Island, in New York Harbor and sits inside the star-shaped walls of Fort Wood. It lies about 1/4-mile from Liberty State Park.

Today, visitors can tour the historic statue and have access to the museum, which offers a complete history of the statue, along with a number of exhibits. Ferry service to the statue and Ellis Island is available from Liberty State Park in Jersey City.