NEW YORK (AFP) - She may be stern and resolute on the outside, but a sneak preview of the Statue of Liberty's soon-to-be-reopened head shows the icon is thin-skinned, even trembling as she gazes out over New York. From July 4 small numbers of tourists will be allowed inside the statue, climbing the extra 168 steps to her seven-rayed crown, which was closed as part of a security clampdown after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. What they'll find are the secrets of a monument that in many ways is the heart of US identity -- symbol of freedom, stunning movie backdrop, and inspiration for an unending supply of key chains and fridge magnets. The tour to her head begins from the top of the stone pedestal, currently the highest area open to visitors, before entering directly beneath Lady Liberty's robes and between her size 879 sandals. From there, it's a miniscule, almost-vertical spiral staircase to the top. The stairs thread between iron supports designed by French engineer Gustave Eiffel shortly before he executed his famous tower in Paris. All around, and held in place by another network of stainless steel supports, is the body of the statue, which on the inside retains a natural copper colour, unlike the oxidized green on the outside. When the surrounding walls narrow abruptly, you know you've reached the neck. A large cavity, large enough to sit in, turns out to be the inside of her four-foot-six-inch (1.37-meter) nose. Then come the ears, followed by another few steps ending in a tiny room surrounded by 25 windows -- the legendary and, for almost eight years now, mysterious crown. From here the visitor enjoys the same scene the statue has surveyed since being sent across the Atlantic in 214 crates as a gift from the French people, then reassembled on Liberty Island in 1886. From her left side parts of Manhattan are visible, but it is the harbour of New York, Verrazano Bridge, and the gateway to the Atlantic that are the real focus of her attention. And the reverse was long also true. For 12 million mostly European immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, that green figure, her shining torch and the engraved words of Emma Lazarus's poem -- "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free" -- meant they had finally arrived. Many remark on the handsome but unsmiling face of the statue described by Lazarus as the Mother of Exiles. One theory is that the sculptor, Frenchman August Bartholdi, used his mother as the model. But you quickly see that she has a soft side. The copper skin is no thicker than two pennies and in gales she sways by up to three inches (7.5 centimetres), while her gilded torch moves five inches (12.5 centimetres). Even on a calm day, the movement inside her head of half a dozen journalists with cameras was enough to make her shudder. That flexibility was part of Eiffel's design for Lady Liberty to withstand a tough environment. The torch, which stands 305 feet and one inch (92.99 meters) above the small island, or the equivalent of 22 floors, is pummelled and pitted by frequent lightening. Some of the randomly selected 240 tourists who'll be allowed to visit daily from July 4th, US Independence Day, may also find the experience unforgiving. By the time they reached the lady's waist, a few of the journalists invited to the preview were huffing and one of the park rangers sweated profusely. Once inside the head, temperatures can be sweltering and the windows in her crown are tiny portholes. Rangers say big efforts have gone into making the climb safer, though there'd still be no easy way out in an emergency -- one of the reasons the monument was closed after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. "It doesn't meet any building code whatsoever," said national parks spokesman Darren Boch. But the lucky few to get in will long remember the day. Brenda Nottingham, 49, visiting with her daughters from Dallas, Texas, smiled as she recalled making the climb as a wide-eyed teenager. "It was a tour where I saw the whole city and that was the most fascinating thing of all," she said. "The Statue of Liberty's something you hear about from the time you are a little child. It's part of our history and there's never a time you don't know about it."