Lady Liberty’s “Little Sister,” a replica of the Statue of Liberty has arrived all the way from France and is now on display on Ellis Island until July 4th. Untapped New York was on hand for its arrival to the Port of Newark on Wednesday and for the inauguration ceremony yesterday on Ellis Island. The effort to bring this statue, which has stood in the Musée des Arts et Métiers (Museum of Arts and Crafts) in Paris for the last decade is part of a 135th anniversary celebration of the Statue of Liberty crossing the Atlantic Ocean.
The Embassy of France in the U.S., the Conservatoire national des arts et métiers (Cnam) and the CMA CGM Group, a shipping logistics company, partnered to bring the statue first to New York City, then to Washington D.C. where it will be on display at the French Ambassador’s Residence for Bastille Day. As Pascal Confavreux, Press Counselor of the Embassy of France tells Untapped New York, “When we began discussions on this project in 2019, we had no idea what a shining light this statue would be after a year of pandemic and uncertainty…The first Lady Liberty was not given by the French government to the American government, but by the French people to the American people. Her little sister will arrive in the U.S. as the result of a joint effort led by historians, artists, and engineers; civil society, cultural institutions and companies from both countries.
The original plaster sculpture of the Statue of Liberty, which sculptor Auguste Bartholdi made in his Paris studio, was bequeathed to the Musée des Arts et Métiers by his widow in 1907. In 2005, the French art dealer, Guillaume Duhamel, rediscovered the sculpture while accompanying his son’s elementary school class on a visit there. He convinced the museum to let him create 12 casts from the plaster original (the maximum allowed under French law) using the lost-wax method and the museum would get to keep the first cast.
The statue was taken down from the museum on June 7, 2021 and put into a plexiglass case custom-designed for the voyage. It was then be taken to the port city of Le Havre, where it boarded the CMA CGM TOSCA on June 20th headed for New York in a branded shipping container.
The statue arrived to the Port of Newark and was unloaded from the cargo ship on Wednesday, June 30th with Philippe Etienne, the Ambassador of France in the United States and Phil Murphy, the Governor of New Jersey, present at the ceremony. Then, on Thursday morning July 1st, the statue was unveiled in another ceremony on Ellis Island to the backdrop of the original Statue of Liberty. The notable figures present at this ceremony include Etienne and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.
You can also see this statue with your tickets to our tour of the abandoned hospitals of Ellis Island, with tickets still available for the July 4th:
Abandoned Hospitals of Ellis Island