A Second Statue of Liberty Is Coming to the U.S.—Thanks to France

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The Statue of Liberty.

Photo: Getty Images

With COVID-19 restrictions lifting across the U.S., this upcoming July 4 is poised to be a particularly celebratory one. And while the White House is planning what will no doubt be a party to remember, New York will arguably be the best place to be. That’s because from July 1–5, the city will mark the arrival of a second Statue of Liberty. 

Like its predecessor, the statue is a gift from France. And through the bronze work is one 16th the size of the original, its temporary placement on Ellis Island will mirror that of the staggering original. Currently, the 992-pound piece, which is just under 10 feet tall, is making its way to America. 

The Little Sister, as it’s being called, was fabricated in 2009 based on an original 1878 plaster model of the Statue of Liberty, so it’s a nearly perfect image. For much of the past 12 years, the Petite Soeur has been quietly perched in a discreet location in Paris: In 2011, it was installed in the garden of the National Museum of Arts and Crafts, where it has sat ever since.

“The statue symbolizes freedom and the light around all the world,” Olivier Faron, general administrator of the museum, commented to CNN Style. “We want to send a very simple message: Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship.”

When the Statue of Liberty arrived on U.S. shores in 1885, the intentions were similar. The U.S. had recently been reunified after the Civil War, while France had undergone seismic shifts of its own thanks to the end of the Second Empire and the Franco-Prussian War. 

The first Statue of Liberty, which depicts the Roman goddess Libertas, had been envisioned in part by prominent architect and engineer Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc. But following his untimely death, Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel—who is best remembered for the Eiffel Tower—completed some key engineering tasks still at hand.

The Little Sister will look out upon New York waters for only a handful of days before making its way to the U.S. capital. In Washington, D.C., it will be on display at the residence of the French ambassador for the next decade. 



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