How well do you know our nation’s most famous Fourth of July tourist attractions? Here’s a quiz – and some insider info on what’s new at each one.
1. How many steps is it to the crown of the Statue of Liberty?
C. Trick question: You can’t climb to the crown.
Answer: B. Visitors can climb 354 narrow and steep stairs to the crown. When you get to the top, you can look out windows that are the clear spaces in her crown. Bonus fact: You used to be able to climb right into Liberty’s torch, but that option closed in 1916.
2. Mt. Vernon and Monticello are the homes of famous presidents and tourist attractions in their own right. Which one was owned by Thomas Jefferson?
A. Mt. Vernon
C. Trick question. Jefferson owned Mt. Abbeye, a plantation in Pennsylvania.
Answer: B. Jefferson never stopped working to improve Monticello. George Washington owned Mt. Vernon. There’s no such place as Mt. Abbeye in Pennsylvania.
3. Which is closer to Washington, D.C. — Mt. Vernon or Monticello?
A. Mt. Vernon
Answer: A. Mt. Vernon is just 16 miles from Washington, D.C., in Alexandria, Va., an easy afternoon trip for visitors to the nation’s capital. Monticello is 117 miles away in Charlottesville. Monticello is 2 1/2 hours by car from D.C. If you think that sounds far, remember that in Jefferson’s era, the trip took four days.
4. Of what material is the Statue of Liberty is made?
A. Titanium and copper
B. Copper and iron
C. Ceramic painted green
Answer: B. The internal skeleton is iron. The surface is copper hammered to 3/32 -inch thick. Bonus fact: Titanium wasn’t developed as a commercial metal until the 20th Century.
5. The original copy of the Declaration of Independence is in a special viewing case in the National Archives in Washington, D.C. Tourists complain they can barely make out the signatures. Why is it so faded?
A. The ink used to write the document was unstable.
B. It hung by a sunny window too long.
C. When it was restored, archivists used an abrasive cleaning chemical.
Answer: B. From 1841 to 1875, it hung by a sunny window in the Patent Office in Washington, D.C. By the time anyone noticed, the signatures were nearly completely faded. Bonus fact: Historians believe the fading also could have been partly caused by an engraver placing a paper over the top to make an image in the early 1800s.
6. The Liberty Bell hangs in its own museum in Philadelphia. What made it crack?
A. On the night the Declaration of Independence was signed, it rang for 12 hours straight.
B. Movers dropped it in 1938.
C. Bad construction. One day in 1846 it cracked, and fixes didn’t work.
Answer: C. The 2,000-pound bell dates from 1753, when it was made for the Philadelphia State House. Since it cracked twice in 1846, nobody has rung it. But it still gets a lot of visitors.
7. How old was Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Declaration of Independence?
Answer: A. If your 33-year-old is still living in your basement, remind him that Jefferson at age 33 was busy helping birth a nation and writing an elegant document whose words resonate to this day.
8. If you visited the Statue of Liberty right after it was erected in 1886, what color was it?
Answer: B. Copper oxidizes, so after about 20 years, the statue turned from orangish-brown to light green. In 1906, a displeased Congress actually appropriated money to paint it. Luckily, that plan was dropped.
Quiz answer sources: National Archives, National Park Service, Copper Development Association, Monticello, Mt. Vernon.