Why Does the Statue Of Liberty Have a Green Color?

Quck answer

The Statue of Liberty is green due to the oxidation process that occurs on its copper surface. When copper is exposed to air and moisture, it undergoes a chemical reaction that forms a green patina. This patina acts as a protective layer, preventing further corrosion and preserving the statue’s integrity. Over time, the copper underneath continues to oxidize, maintaining the iconic green color. This unique color has become synonymous with the Statue of Liberty and represents its enduring strength and significance as a symbol of freedom and democracy.

During the Revolutionary War, France and America developed a strong friendship as both countries desired to gain independence from Great Britain. In order to symbolize their friendship, France presented the United States with a special gift called “Liberty Enlightening the World.” This gift, designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, is now known as the Statue of Liberty. It arrived in New York Harbor in 1885, consisting of 350 pieces packed into 214 crates, and was assembled on a specially built base by the United States. The statue has become a global symbol of freedom and democracy.

The Statue of Liberty is situated on Bedloe’s Island, which was renamed Liberty Island in 1956. From 1892 to 1943, the statue warmly welcomed over 12 million immigrants as they arrived by boat at the nearby Ellis Island Immigration Station.

The base of the statue features words from poet Emma Lazarus, which reflect the hopes and dreams of immigrants for freedom in America:

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me.

Lady Liberty represents Libertas, a Roman goddess. She stands holding a torch and a tablet with the date of the Declaration of Independence inscribed on it.

The statue was constructed in France using copper sheets and steel supports. Gustave Eiffel designed the internal framework, allowing the statue to sway with the wind and changes in temperature. Visitors can climb stairs inside the statue to enjoy the view from the crown. Eiffel later utilized the same design for the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The copper used for the statue is extremely thin, only as thick as two pennies combined, yet it is still very durable. The amount of copper used could produce 30 million pennies! Initially, the statue had a brown color, but over time it gradually turned green.

What caused this change? Was it magic? No, it was a natural process called oxidation. The green patina that developed actually protects the copper from further damage.

Here are some interesting facts about Lady Liberty that you may not be aware of:

  • It stands at a height of 151 feet.

  • It is made up of 62,000 pounds of copper and 250,000 pounds of steel.

  • The pedestal weighs a staggering 54 million pounds!

  • The statue can sway in the wind, and the top of the torch can move up to six inches.

  • The crown features seven points, representing the seven seas and continents.

Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty in person? Maybe you’ve seen it in a picture or online. What do you believe this statue symbolizes for people?

Give It a Try

Are you ready to have an up-close and personal experience with Lady Liberty? Gather some adventurous friends and family members and try one or more of the following activities:

Explore the Statue of Liberty Online

You don’t need to travel to New York to have an up-close encounter with Lady Liberty. Simply visit the National Park Service website and take a virtual tour of the Statue of Liberty!

The construction of the Statue of Liberty involved impressive engineering. If you’re interested, you can check out some rare photos of the construction process on Google Arts and Culture’s page dedicated to the Statue of Liberty. Share your favorite pictures and discuss what impresses you the most about the engineering behind the statue.

Looking for a fun challenge? Gather some old pennies and a few common kitchen ingredients and engage in some Chemistry Fun with Pennies! By using vinegar and salt, you can observe firsthand why the Statue of Liberty turned green over time.

Sources for Further Exploration

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