The Statue of Liberty’s original torch has been moved from the base of the statue to its new home in a museum that will open next year.

The torch was replaced with a replica in the 1980s.

Visitors in New York watched on Thursday as the base and the flame of the 3,600lb torch were taken by lorry slowly and carefully to the museum construction site about 100 yards from the statue.

Libertys Torch
The original torch was removed in 1984 and replaced by a replica (Richard Drew/AP)

The torch was removed in 1984 because officials with the National Park Service and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation determined that it was too badly damaged to restore.

A new torch was installed in 1985 and the old one was placed in a museum in the statue’s base.

The new Statue of Liberty Museum will open in May 2019.

“Taking it down was very frightening,” said Stephen Briganti, president and chief executive of the foundation.

Liberty’s Torch
The original torch of the Statue of Liberty in 1984 after it was removed from her grasp (David Pickoff)

“We had the largest freestanding scaffolding that at that point had ever been built.”

The torch left France in 1876 for the United States, where it was exhibited at the Centennial celebration in Philadelphia and then in New York City’s Madison Square Park.

The trip was intended to raise funds to pay for the statue’s pedestal, Briganti said.

It went back to Paris in 1882, then returned to the New York Harbour along with other crated pieces of the statue in 1885.

The torch was held high by Lady Liberty from 1886 to 1984, but modifications to the flame changed its original design over the years.

The 1980s gilt flame that the statue is holding now restores sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi’s original design, officials said.