This year's US Independence Day celebrations promise to be extra special due to the arrival of a second, smaller Statue of Liberty from France. The bronze replica, nicknamed "Little Sister," is expected to reach New York City in time for the Fourth of July festivities. The statue will be displayed on Ellis Island – across the water from the original Statue of Liberty, which sits on Liberty Island — from July 1 through 5, 2021. It will then be moved to the French Embassy in Washington, DC, where it will remain until 2031.
The 9.3-feet-tall, 1000-pound statue is about one-sixteenth the size of the original Statue of Liberty. It was crafted in 2009 from the 3-D scan of the model of the plaster prototype of the original, which was created by sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Barthold in the late 1800s. Prior to being shipped to the US, "Little Sister" spent ten years welcoming visitors at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM) in Paris.
“This statue symbolizes the virtues of freedom and integration,” CNAM Administrateur général Olivier Faron said. “These two values forever unite France and the United States.”
The original Statue of Liberty was also designed to celebrate Franco-American friendship. The idea was first proposed in 1865 by French historian Édouard de Laboulaye. However, it was not until 1875 that US President and former Civil War general Ulysses Grant agreed to the monument. The two nations decided that France would pay the cost of building the statue while America would fund the $250,000 pedestal upon which she would stand. It took Bartholdi and his team, which included Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel — builder of Paris's iconic Eiffel tower — ten years to complete the masterpiece. Lady Liberty arrived in the US in 1885 and was placed in storage until its inauguration on October 28, 1886.
Today the magnificent monument is one of New York City's most popular tourist attractions, drawing more than 4 million visitors annually. While its diminutive "Little Sister" will probably not be as sought-after, it is sure to attract its fair share of fans at its new home in Washington, DC.
Resources: NPR.org, Smithsonianmag.com, CNN.com