A special send-off ceremony was held on June 7 at the Parisian-based National Museum of Arts and Crafts (CNAM) for a miniature version of the Statue of Liberty. Endearingly called Little Sister, this mini is actually a replica of the original plaster model from 1878. After ten years of installation at CNAM, she's off to the United States.
Though much smaller than the Statue of Liberty—which is 225 tons and 151 feet tall—Little Sister is by no means diminutive. Weighing over 992 pounds (450 kilograms) and standing just under 10 feet tall, the statue will certainly be worth a visit, particularly at her first place of installment.
On July 1, she will arrive at Ellis Island, New York City. She will stay—positioned just across the river from her gargantuan counterpart—through July 5 to celebrate America’s Independence Day. After this, the statue will be moved to the French ambassador’s residence in Washington DC, where she will reside on display for ten years. Plans for the statue after this point have yet to be announced.
A general administrator of CNAM told reporters that, in sending Little Sister to the States, they hope to convey the following message, “Our friendship with the United States is very important, particularly at this moment. We have to conserve and defend our friendship."
The Statue of Liberty’s design carries a great deal of visual significance. Originally conceived as a post-Civil War gift by the French historian Édouard de Laboulaye, the leaders of France sought to connect their Enlightenment values to the emancipation of American slaves. Broken shackles lay at Liberty’s feet.
In 1885, when Liberty departed from France, both countries were still in recovery from periods of unrest and were therefore eager to strengthen their alliance and, in turn, their standings.
This new gifting of Little Sister seems to echo these original motives. As the world emerges from a COVID-19 Pandemic and continues to slog through waves of populist politics, perhaps this gesture will inspire a bit of hope for the future.