This 4th of July, the Statue of Liberty had her relative around… in the shape of an approximately 10-foot-tall bronze copy, dubbed the landmark’s “little sister.”
The torch-holding icon will spend a few days facing her 1/16th scale version in New York before the next phase of the mini-me’s epic journey begins.
Where did Little Lady Liberty come from?
She’s been on quite a voyage already. Like the original, Little Lady Liberty traveled over the water from France. From Paris, to be precise, where she greeted visitors entering the Musée des Arts et Métiers (National Museum of Arts and Crafts).
CNN reports the little sister is “an exact replica of the original 1878 plaster model” created by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. Twelve copies were made by the Musée des Arts et Métiers, with Susse Fondeur Paris behind the bronze casting.
Weighing 1,000 pounds, the replica was transported in a plexiglass container. Going by water, the delivery arrived by cargo vessel. It stuck to the exact route taken when the awe-inspiring Statue of Liberty was brought to the States 135 years ago. The historic journey took nine days.
CMA CGM Group arranged the trip alongside the Embassy of France (USA) and Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers.
Why has it arrived in America?
The scaled-down creation is taking place in a show of mutual support between France and America. Fox quotes the Embassy, which states this trip symbolizes “the most central value of the French-American partnership: freedom.”
Fox spoke to Ed Aldridge, President of shipping giant CMA CGM and APL North America. He says the independence-themed event demonstrates how the Group can “design and deliver complex, supply end-to-end solutions.” As ends go, they don’t come much more prestigious as the Liberty route!
A statement says the collective endeavor can “tell a modern tale of successful international cooperation.”
Independence Day celebrations
So, what’s the itinerary for Little Lady Liberty? Having docked at New Jersey on Wednesday, she’ll be positioned at the landmark location of Ellis Island, New York Harbor.
Here, she faces her bigger-than-big sister from July 1st to 5th, encompassing Independence Day celebrations.
Then it’s on to the French Ambassador’s residence in Washington, DC. According to WSKG, this is a “10-year loan.” Bastille Day is on the 14th, with the little sister taking part in the classic French commemoration.
The original Statue of Liberty
The brainchild of historian Édouard de Laboulaye, Lady Liberty was intended as a present for America.
Why were the French making them a gift? Because they’d just emerged from the Civil War. De Laboulaye saw slaves’ newfound freedom as having parallels with the French Enlightenment and its ideals.
Designer Bartholdi not only brought the copper colossus to life, but he also had to go to the USA and talk to a (reportedly) indifferent President Ulysses S. Grant. Once the sculptor-turned-salesman had worked his magic, the work could begin.
Nine years later, Lady Liberty was ready…to be taken to pieces, that is. She was designed to be re-assembled at the New York end after her European voyage.
The public is gradually being allowed back inside the Statue of Liberty
French money erected the Statue while American dollars went into the pedestal she was placed on. Speaking of which, ABC 7 reports that the observation deck down there is opening to the public for the first time since Covid closed its doors in March 2020.
The deck is operating at 50% capacity. Advance booking is advised. Tourists can also get inside the head of the Lady, so to speak, though at present, this vertigo-inducing attraction is shut due to the pandemic.
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Whether big or small, the Statue of Liberty’s image is embedded in the consciousness of both nations. This renewal of vows supposedly acts as a transatlantic handshake.
Will it have the same impact as before? Nous ne savons pas!