George Washington statue in Union Square featured on the New York Talking Statues map

At a time when sculptures of prominent figures in parks and public spaces throughout our country are being microscopically reviewed through the lens of todays highly charged political times, 35 sculptures in New York City are talking back.

The installation, New York Talking Statues, which opened in July of this year at The New York Historical Society, allows the viewer to listen to a pre-recorded speech, recorded and written by a modern author, and voiced by an actor. All this through the miracle of technology – and a smart phone. The project recently released a new video to show how it works in action.

You download a QR scanner to your smartphone and simply scan the code printed on the placard next to a statue you’d like to hear about. You can hear the words of New York figures ranging from Gertrude Stein to George Washington, to Alexander Hamilton, Harriet Tubman and more.

The installation celebrates the diversity of our city, with statues speaking in many languages including Dutch, Swedish, Danish, Italian, Norwegian, Spanish, and Greek – depending on the historical figure that the statue honors. A map of all 35 talking sculptures can be found here.

Next, if you start your Talking Statues tour at The New York Historical Society, don’t miss the exhibit, The Duchess of Carnegie Hall, in the newly opened Women’s History Wing on the 4th floor, or take a Secrets of Central Park Walking Tour, where many of our most treasured sculptures reside. You can contact the author at AFineLyne.