National Liberty Museum Hosts "Welcome to Liberty" Opening

Layla El Tannir, for GPA -- A gem of Philadelphia’s Old City, The National Liberty Museum (NLM) is dedicated to preserving America’s heritage of freedom, a message we can all identify with.

Its primary art form on display is glass art, sending the message that freedom is as fragile as the precious medium and that art cannot be created without the right of self-expression.

“Welcome to Liberty,” NLM’s brand new gallery, just opened. It’s designed to be an interactive space with iPad exhibits, games, glass art and a replica of the Liberty Bell intended to appeal to a younger generation. It is also free to view this gallery upon entrance through the main doors. To celebrate the opening, the museum hosted some of the city’s key players in a reception, offering free reign of the museum and self-guided tours. Guests could indulge in five different food stations, attend a talk by museum staff and discuss the museum’s history and what’s to come in the future.

NLM spans over four floors and the Flame of Liberty shoots through the entirety of the north wing. The first floor hosts the Education Center and Coming to America space. You can find Welcome to Liberty and the Museum Gift Store on the second floor. The third floor presents Conflict to Harmony and Heroes Around the World. The Liberty Hall and Voyage to Liberty live on the fourth floor.

The third floor drew the biggest crowds during the opening event and it just so happened to be the floor with the most global appeal. Conflict to Harmony showcases the glass art gallery, the anti-bullying shredder exhibit, the Young Heroes and Heroes of Valar as well as the Jellybean Children by Sandy Skoglund. The gallery is full of color and life to help promote positivity and highlight the profound work of young people on this planet. Heroes Around the World was dimly lit and had more of a staccato vibe, to create a serious mood when presenting significant leaders of the world. There are dioramas of 55 heroes including Anne Frank’s Secret Annex and Nelson Mandela in his jail cell.

After taking a self-guided tour and visiting the exhibits on all the floors, guests gathered in the video screening section of the Welcome to Liberty gallery for a behind-the-scenes talk with CEO Gwen Borowsky and Kevin Orangers. Borowsky explained that an interior designer collaborated with her team when creating concepts for the exhibits and galleries, to figure out the most eye pleasing formations and to structure them for simple and easy changeovers from one exhibit to the next.

NLM staff has found that the tourism and museum business has shifted online and that there is a greater demand for digital content. All the content for film will be created and shot in-house. The staff worry that giving into the online demand will lower the human value as part of the personality of the museum and that the message of liberty could be misconstrued as it is a sensitive topic.

Developing leadership programs is in the NLM’s near future. They will be built into some of the education classes and also offered as separate courses. After the behind-the-scenes talk, the floor opened to questions and comments.

“Millennials have a strong influence on the way the market works,” this reporter began. “How have you adapted your future strategies to appeal to millennials?”

“Yes they do,” answered Borowsky. “We have begun to implement more technology and interactive concepts as you can see with the opening of our new gallery tonight. The website is a hotspot for the young professional demographic, so we plan to add content to that too. Going forward, the millennials are at the forefront of our plans.”

NLM is full of charm and highlights, both cultural and heritage heavy elements that otherwise may get overlooked in a museum of its nature. There are galleries for everyone to enjoy, so there is no specific target market that they are pursuing. Everyone should experience the galleries at least once.

Image courtesy of Visit Philly.