Fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg and husband Barry Diller are well known in the philanthropic circuit as supporters of cultural public spaces. They were early funders of the High Line, and construction is soon to commence on Diller’s $150 million+ futuristic offshore park known as Pier 55. Their latest endeavor will be backing a new Statue of Liberty museum, as the Wall Street Journal reports that von Furstenberg has joined the board of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and agreed to assist with fundraising.
The announcement for a new, free-standing museum designed by FXFOWLE comes as the Statue of Liberty nears its 130th anniversary in October. Currently, the exhibition space is housed in the statue’s pedestal, but because of its size and security concerns only about 20 percent of the 4.3 million annual visitors can access this museum. The National Park Service, in an environmental review put out last month, said the 15,000-square-foot project is “intended to increase public access to exhibits on the history, construction and legacy of the statue, and provide additional shelter during inclement weather.”
The site proposed for the museum is on the northwest side of Liberty Island, across the plaza from the statue. A sloping green roof with native vegetation is planned for the new building, along with a gallery area, immersive theater, bookstore, and administrative space. The building could accommodate 1,000 to 1,200 visitors per hour, more than double what’s currently allowed in the pedestal.
No cost estimates have been released, but the project will be privately funded. The Journal uncovered von Furstenberg’s name in a quarterly report from the foundation, though her office wouldn’t confirm her involvement. It’s still in the quiet fundraising and conceptual/planning phases, but if approved will likely take about two years to complete.
- Happy Birthday Lady Liberty! She Turns 128 Today
- It’s Official! Construction on Barry Diller’s Futuristic Offshore Park to Begin This Summer
- Diane von Furstenberg’s Penthouse Sparkles Above Her Meatpacking HQ