Press Highlights

Introducing Our Bloomberg Connects Digital Guide

| July 1, 2024

The History of Lady Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigrant Experience Featured on the new Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation’s Bloomberg Connects Digital Guide

New York, New York, July 1, 2024 – Today, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation launches a new digital guide on the Bloomberg Connects app, inviting users to explore the monuments’ histories, hear firsthand accounts from Ellis Island immigrants, get a behind-the-scenes look at preservation projects, and more.

“Bloomberg Connects is a passport to culture, putting a world of arts and culture into the palm of your hand,” said Foundation president and CEO Jesse Brackenbury. “As a Bloomberg Connects partner, the Foundation is excited to expand its reach and inform people across the globe of our efforts to care for these iconic American treasures.”


Dad & Me Love History

| April 27, 2024

Jon Da Silva, Assistant Manager of the Foundation’s American Family Immigration History Center, speaks with father-son podcasters Paul and James Letters about the history and importance of Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.


The Ellis Island Museum Is Revitalizing…

Smithsonian | April 9, 2024

The $100 million project, which was announced late last month, includes the creation of new public spaces, the expansion of the American Immigrant Wall of Honor and the development of new interactive experiences. When work is complete, the museum will have touchscreens, immersive films, soundscapes and other pieces of media.

The museum is also expanding its arrival records database by adding nearly 90 million records from other ports of entry nationwide. When finished, the database will include 154 million searchable documents.


This American landmark is getting a $100 million makeover

CNN Travel | April 4, 2024

Ellis Island’s museum is getting a 21st-century makeover, more than 100 years after millions of immigrants took their first steps in America there.

A new $100-million project aims to revitalize the 125-year-old landmark with immersive and modern exhibits. Recently announced renovations and upgrades at the historic site also include plans to more than double the number of records available to visitors who hope to trace their families’ stories there.


The Ellis Island Museum is getting a major 21st century upgrade

TimeOut | March 28, 2024

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation announced earlier today that its $100 million revitalization will expand the Records Discovery Center experience that many associate with the destination, allowing “millions more families to trace their immigration story.” To put things in perspective: the current database of 65 million port of New York arrival records will increase to approximately 154 million.


Ellis Island Museum is getting a multi-million dollar renovation

NBC News | March 28, 2024

The gateway to NYC turned historic landmark, the Ellis Island Museum is getting a major renovation.


The Ellis Island Museum to be ‘reimagined’ in $100M makeover

6sqft | March 28, 2024

New York City’s Ellis Island Museum is getting a $100 million makeover. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation on Thursday announced a revitalization project to upgrade the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and reimagine it for the 21st century by improving exhibits, preserving its 19th-century landmarked building, and offering a more immersive experience with stories of the 12 million immigrants who arrived in the country via Ellis Island. The project, slated for completion in 2026, will also expand the museum’s Records Discovery Center, allowing millions more to trace their heritage.


Ellis Island museum doubles immigration database in $100M renovation

PIX 11 | March 28, 2024

Ellis Island, first an immigration hub and now a historic archive, will now be transformed once again and its museum expanded to include millions more familial records, organizers announced Thursday.

The Ellis Island National Immigration Museum’s database will more than double in size to include 154 million searchable documents from ports of entry from across the United States – so millions more visitors can discover history like when members of their family arrived in the country and where they were headed. 


New York Times Announces Ellis Project

The New York Times | March 28, 2024

The museum on Ellis Island “tells a foundational story of who we are as a country because it tells a story of where we came from,” said Jesse Brackenbury, the president and chief executive of the nonprofit that works in partnership with the National Park Service, which operates the museum. “You’re walking in the footsteps of the 12 million people who came through.”

“But,” he added, “it’s a 34-year-old museum.”


Ellis Island Museum to be Reimagined for the 21st Century Visitor

Press Release | March 28, 2024

$100 million campaign will vastly enhance the museum experience, more than double the number of immigration records available for visitors’ personal discovery, and help preserve the historic building 

New York, NY (March 28, 2024) – The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the official National Park Service philanthropic partner for Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, today announced that the 34-year-old museum on Ellis Island will undergo a full revitalization.


Our Knight in the National Order of Merit

Greenwich Time | December 11, 2023

The Foundation’s Chief Advancement Officer, Rich Flood, was integral to the success of the Statue of Liberty Museum. Throughout this journey, Rich worked closely with campaign chairperson Diane von Furstenberg and collaborated with the French Embassy and French Consulate in New York.

In recognition of Rich’s contributions to preserving French-American History, the French Government made him a Knight in the National Order of Merit, the highest honor a non-French national can receive.

Read on for more about Rich’s achievements and this unique honor.

Jesse Brackenbury Discusses Ellis Island

MentiSommerse | December 11, 2023

What is the symbolic significance of Ellis Island? Which were the largest and most influential immigrant groups in Ellis Island history?

These are just a sample of the questions posed by Corrado Parlati, editor-in-chief of the Italian culture website MentiSommerse, during a recent exchange with Foundation president & CEO Jesse Brackenbury.

Click here for the full article, which also includes words from Raffaele Vivinai’s “Scalo Maritime.”

A Return Visit Honors Italian Immigrants

Pipolo | October 23, 2023

Italian journalist Rosario Pipolo recently visited Liberty and Ellis Islands – a return trip 30 years in the making. In his Travel Diary post, Pipolo shares memories of his first visit in 1992 and describes his thoughts about the millions of Italians who came to the Port of New York on their way to a new life in an unfamiliar world.


Unforgotten: Ellis Island Virtual Event

An Invitation | September 14, 2023

In its September newsletter, the Battery Park City Authority invited readers to attend the Foundation’s upcoming virtual event, Unforgotten: Ellis Island, on October 18 (12:00-1:00 pm ET). The event will feature a screening of this documentary short followed by a Q&A with director Aaron Asis and Stephen Lean, Director of the Foundation’s Family History Center.

Click HERE to RSVP.

Best Websites

Family Tree | September 1, 2023

Family Tree Magazine‘s podcast recently featured the Foundation’s Ellis Island Passenger Database as one of the genealogy industry’s best websites. Kathryn Marks, Manager of the Family History Center at Ellis Island, spoke with Lisa Lousie Cooke about this important resource. Kathryn explains the details found on the ship manifests featured in our database and provides search tips to make the most of your family history research experience.

Click HERE to listen to the episode.

Holland America Joins Forces with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation

Cruise Industry News | October 21, 2022

Holland America Line has joined forces with The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation to celebrate the cruise line’s 150-year anniversary and pay homage to its history, according to a press release.

“Our history is deeply woven within the fabric of America’s story. It’s only fitting that as we celebrate this milestone anniversary, we partner with the entity responsible for restoring and preserving Ellis Island, the entrance to America that so many of our passengers experienced on their journey to a new start,” said Gus Antorcha, president, Holland America Line.

Statue of Liberty Crown Finally Reopening to Visitors Again

The Hoboken Girl | October 11, 2022

Just ahead of her 136th birthday on October 28th, Lady Liberty has something to celebrate: the iconic crown, which has been closed since spring 2020, has now reopened to visitors…

In the early 1800’s, Liberty Island was known as Bedloe’s Island and was used as a fort, called Fort Wood. After the Civil War, it was designated as the site for the Statue of Liberty. Even though the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, the island wasn’t officially renamed Liberty Island until 1956. The Statue was considered a lighthouse by the government for many years, until it became classified as a monument in 1924. Then, in 1933, the National Park Service took over all national monuments. The Statue is now maintained by the NPS and supported by private donors, such as The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation.

Statue of Liberty, SOL, 

New UNFORGOTTEN Series Installment Highlights Relevance of Ellis Island History

Untapped NY | August 1, 2022

Though the United States has not welcomed immigrants through Ellis Island since the federal immigration station closed in 1954, it is believed that about 40 percent of Americans can trace their ancestry through the Island…

Throughout the film, Asis interviews various players integral to the preservation of Ellis Island history. The words and perspectives of Lean, Noah Lumsden of the National Parks Service, Stephen Briganti of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, and French artist JR reveal aspects of Ellis Island’s history while underscoring their significance.

Queens Night Market to host first annual citywide celebration of immigrants in New York City

QNM | June 6, 2022

The event, This is NY: Celebrating Our Immigrant Heritage and Communities, is a citywide series of partnerships and programming that celebrates the history, experience, communities and contributions of immigrants to New York City, and will run from June 11 through 21…

Jesse Brackenbury, president and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, said Ellis Island is at the heart of New York and the country’s immigration history. 

“The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation is excited to share that story with a panel discussion, launch of an interactive map of Ellis-related locations throughout the five boroughs and more,” Brackenbury said. “We hope this glimpse into the immigrant experience inspires visits to the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration and family heritage exploration at the American Family Immigration History Center.”

This is Ellis Island, This is NY, event, poster

Jeff Bezos Tears Up Recalling His Dad’s Journey as a Cuban Immigrant Starting a Life in America

People | May 12, 2022

“I think in every immigrant you’ll find a deep optimism and a deep resilience too,” the Amazon founder said

Jeff Bezos paid tribute to his father Miguel Bezos at the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Awards.

On Thursday, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation shared a video of the Amazon founder, 58, opening up about his father’s experience as Cuban immigrant in America during the awards ceremony.

“Every immigrant who has come to this country, they all have their own unique stories. Fighting for a better life, hardships but they also end up having a belief in America,” he shares in the video. “They think this place creates opportunity and it does.”

A better way to get to Lady Liberty: Make it easier for visitors to the Statue of Liberty

NY Daily News | March 16, 2022

About the author: Jesse Brackenbury is president and CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the non-profit in a public-private partnership with the National Park Service.

The incredible journey taken by island visitors begins with an underwhelming experience in the onshore security tent… We must lay the groundwork now, so visitors can keep visiting the symbol of freedom.

Let us provide the next 100-million visitors with an outstanding onshore experience as they set off to the Islands for a trip that they will remember all their lives.

The Statue Of Liberty’s (Very) Little Sister Is Coming To Town

NPR "All Things Considered" | July 2, 2021

The Statue of Liberty has a little sister, a 9-foot casting from Bartholdi’s original mold. It departed Normandy by boat and arrives in New York City soon for temporary installation on Ellis Island…

A parade of diplomats, politicians and business people spoke to an invited audience inside because of a driving rain outside. Jesse Brackenbury, president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, reminded the audience…

“It was nearly 135 years ago on another rainy day in New York Harbor that Liberty Enlightening the World was unveiled.”

France Sends the U.S. Another, Smaller Statue of Liberty

New York Times | June 10, 2021

The replica will go on display on Ellis Island for Independence Day before being moved to Washington, D.C., where it will remain until 2031…

Jesse Brackenbury, president and chief executive of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, said his organization was excited to be involved in a project celebrating America’s longstanding friendship with the people of France. “This educational exhibit is another great reason to visit Liberty and Ellis Islands around Independence Day, before the crowds grow further,” he said.

France is sending a second Statue of Liberty to the US

CNN | June 9, 2021

New Yorkers have a surprise gift to look forward to for this Independence Day: a second Statue of Liberty sent by France. This new bronze statue, nicknamed the “little sister,” is one-sixteenth the size of the world-famous one that stands on Liberty Island. On Monday, during a special ceremony, the smaller sibling was lifted and loaded into a special container at the National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) in central Paris, where it has been installed since 2011 in the museum’s garden. It will be erected on Ellis Island, just across the water from the original, from July 1 to July 5.

Happy 20th Anniversary, Ellis Island Immigrant Database!

Genealogy Life | April 15, 2021

What a difference two decades make

In April of 2001, a miracle occurred. Well, it certainly seemed that way at the time. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) opened the American Family Immigration History Center (AFIHC), launching an online database — digitized and indexed — of the passenger records of millions of immigrants who took their first steps in America at Ellis Island.

Fast forward 20 years, and we expect genealogical companies to provide fresh databases weekly, but I’d like to try to convey what a big deal this was. It was — quite literally — national news.



The Chronicle of Philanthropy | April 13, 2021

Jesse Brackenbury, executive director of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy, is the next president and CEO of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. He succeeds Stephen Briganti, who became its leader in 1986 and is now retiring.


A Conversation with Diane von Furstenberg

Washington Post | March 9, 2021

Diane von Furstenberg is a fashion designer, philanthropist and Founder and Chairwoman of the company that bears her name. In 1974, she created the iconic wrap dress, which became a symbol of power and independence for women and grew into a global brand. She’s been a champion of women her entire life, supporting and empowering emerging women leaders across the globe…

She currently serves on the boards of Vital Voices, the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures and the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation. She has written several books, including Diane: A Signature Life and The Woman I Wanted to Be and upcoming release, Own It: The Secret to Life.

Presidents’ Day: 5 Ways to Make It Meaningful This Year

The New York Times | February 11, 2021

At the Statue of Liberty Museum, visitors can see how the structure was produced and installed, as well as the original torch. On neighboring Ellis Island, visit the National Museum of Immigration to see photos, videos and heirlooms. Stop by the Family History Center in the hopes of learning your own story. Research assistants are on hand, if you and your genealogy need extra help.

SOL, Statue of Liberty, black and white

Luis Ubiñas Named Board Chair

| January 29, 2021

(Press Release) The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. today announced the appointment of Luis Ubiñas as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mr. Ubiñas joined the Foundation’s Board in 2014, serving as Vice Chair since 2018. Mr. Ubiñas replaces Albert C. Bellas, who has been Board Chair since 2015 and remains on the Board.


The Statue of Liberty Museum’s Digital Signage

Tech Decisions | November 30, 2020

Three connected theaters in the Statue of Liberty Museum have their own floor-to-ceiling curved screens, one measuring 17’ x 24’ & two measuring 12’ x 20’.

SOL, Statue of Liberty 

Lucy G. Moses Preservation Awards

The NY Landmarks Conservancy | September 23, 2020

Here’s to the Lucy’s! The 30th Lucy G. Moses Awards were a joyous, virtual celebration that featured an outstanding variety of projects and great preservation leaders. The video presentation is available here. It features a tribute to 30 years of Moses Awards and recognizes this year’s recipients.

Stephen Briganti, president and CEO of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. received the Public Leadership in Preservation Award.

SOL, Statue of Liberty

Foundation Names New President & CEO

| September 15, 2020

(Press Release) The Board of Directors of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., is pleased to announce the appointment of Jesse Brackenbury as its next president and chief executive officer. Brackenbury will take over leadership of the Foundation on May 1, 2021, replacing Stephen A. Briganti, who has been with the foundation since 1982 and its president since 1986.


make music day, event, Jesse, CEO

Ellis Island Connects Users To Ancestors Through Virtual Dedicated Passenger Search Experience

Azure Azure | June 22, 2020

Known for honoring immigrants who came to the U.S., the Ellis Island National Museum, which is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, now offers a virtual experience called “The Dedicated Passenger Search,” to help users explore their connections to 17+ million immigrants who entered the U.S. through the Port of New York during 1820-1957. The virtual experience is said to replicate a visit to the Family History Center inside the museum to help people along their genealogical journey.

Ellis Island will now personally help you research your ancestors at home

Time Out | May 1, 2020

If you’re looking to fall down a rabbit hole right now, follow the researchers at Ellis Island.

The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation has more than 65 million pieces of data you can cull through to find ancestors who may have come through the famous immigration hub. And if that seems too overwhelming, you can hand the reigns over to its staff, which is now offering to personally help you find more information.

Liberty’s controversial past finally acknowledged

The Australian | February 14, 2020

In the current political climate, opening a new museum at the Statue of Liberty would seem an invitation to controversy. The US is in the midst of its most bitter debate on immigration for generations and, inevitably, the world’s best-known symbol of hope and freedom has been caught up in rhetoric during the Trump presidency.

After Gala With Oprah And Other Stars, Statue Of Liberty Museum Opens

Forbes | May 17, 2019

After Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton and numerous other celebrities attended a star-studded gala Wednesday night at the new Statue of Liberty Museum, the museum on Manhattan’s Liberty Island opened its doors to the public Thursday.

The 26,000-square-foot museum, located behind the Statue of Liberty on the island’s west side, features three gallery spaces that aim “to inspire visitors and educate them about the Statue of Liberty in interactive and thought-provoking ways,” the museum says.

SOLM, SOL, Statue of Liberty, torch 

Oprah Declares America Needs “Open Arms and Not Closed Borders”

Oprah Magazine | May 16, 2019

“Let freedom ring, y’all.”

Oprah Winfrey wants less hate, more acceptance.

On Wednesday, the O of O headed to Liberty Island to celebrate the opening of New York City’s new Statue of Liberty Museum, a 26,000-square-foot structure made possible with the fundraising support of fashion designer Diane von Fürstenberg. It was just before touring the museum that Oprah stopped and spoke to the press about the significance of the Statue of Liberty—and the place she wants our country to return to.

celebrity, oprah, Statue of Liberty, SOL

The Statue of Liberty gets an AR app to celebrate its new museum

TechCrunch | May 14, 2019

This week, the new $100 million Statue of Liberty Museum opens in the shadow of one of America’s most iconic landmarks. The 26,000-square-foot space offers insights into the statue’s storied history, along with context for the majority of visitors who ultimately can’t make it inside the structure.

For those who don’t make it to Liberty Island at all, meanwhile, there’s the brand new Statue of Liberty app, which hits the iOS App Store today. Led by fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg, the Yap Studios-developed app offers myriad methods for bringing New York Harbor’s landmark to life.

tech, technology, SOL, Statue of Liberty

A Wall That Honors Immigrants

NY Times | January 16, 2019

It’s a wall. It’s made of steel. It was built because immigrants kept coming.

But it’s not the wall you’re thinking of.

We’re talking about the American Immigrant Wall of Honor at Ellis Island: 770 stainless steel panels engraved with the names of about 775,000 immigrants.

Take a Tour of Lady Liberty’s Torch (Right This Second)

NY Times | November 13, 2018

The original Statue of Liberty torch — 3,600 pounds of copper and glass, and 16 feet tall — is being moved to the other side of Liberty Island. In advance of the crane’s arrival, we took 675 photographs to present the torch in augmented reality.

Statue of Liberty Museum launches crowdfunding campaign

CURBED NY | July 2, 2018

The crowdsourced funding taps into a history of such funding campaigns for the Statue of Liberty

A little over a year after construction started on the new Statue of Liberty Museum, the foundation behind the museum has now launched a fundraising campaign to see the 26,000 square foot space to completion…

The fundraising campaign also taps into a history of crowdsourced funding for the Statue of Liberty. In the 1880s, publisher Joseph Pulitzer launched a fundraising campaign to help complete the pedestal of the statue. More than 120,000 donors contributed, which aided in the opening of the statue in 1886. For the centennial celebration of the statue, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation was tasked with raising funds for a long-awaited restoration, and at that time the statue received donations totaling $6 million just from students across the country.