NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The new Statue of Liberty Museum officially opens to the public today on Liberty Island.

The 26,000 square foot museum celebrates the monument’s history, influence and legacy around the world.

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(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Statue of Liberty -Ellis Island Foundation)

It has three main spaces – one shows a film, another displays artifacts, renderings, pictures and the statue’s original torch, and there’s a digital station, where visitors are encouraged to add their own thoughts on what liberty means. 

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The museum is open to all visitors on Liberty Island, not just the 20 percent or so who buy tickets for statue tours. Admission will be included with the price of a ferry ticket.

(Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Statue of Liberty -Ellis Island Foundation)

“After 9/11, restrictions were placed on the number of people that could actually get into the Statue of Liberty,” said Stephen Briganti, president and CEO of the Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation. “Because people couldn’t see it, we felt that they were missing something about the visit here.”

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This is the biggest upgrade to Liberty Island since the iconic statue was first completed in 1886.