In honor of this year’s Independence Day, my daughters and I will share the intriguing story behind the Statue of Liberty, one of the grandest sculptures of Modern times. The tablet in Lady Liberty’s hand, prominently displays the date July 4th, 1776 which is the day the Declaration of Independence was signed and gave our nation its unique beginning. Join our MudPies & Butterflies families as we discuss Liberty, Art, Poetry and Engineering as well as take turns sharing which freedoms each of us holds dear.
The Statue of Liberty is the 32nd tallest sculpture of the Modern World. She resides in the New York Harbor on Liberty Island (once called Bedloe’s Island), “where people get their first view of the new world,” quoted by her French sculptor, Frédéric Bartholodi who first sailed to the United States in 1871. Once erected, everyone who entered the United States via Ellis Island would sail just past her before stepping off their boats.
The crown has 7 points, representing the 7 continents that Liberty is enlightening through out the world. Expect to build some hands-on crafts (Starting at 1:00pm) like a liberty crown from paper plates and torch from recyclable toilet paper rolls and tissue paper. If you climb the Statue, 40 people can fit into her crown and head and 12 people can fit in the torch. Click here to print out and build your own FREE scaled down model of the Statue of Liberty (151 feet) and her pedestal (154 feet). To see a 1/4 scale model of Lady Liberty’s hand and torch take your kids to visit our very own Skirball Museum. Another famous torch worth discussing is traveling to the Summer Olympics (at Shakespeare’s birthplace right now – July 1st). We might play a few games to get a taste of our upcoming dedicated parkdays on the Summer Olympics.
In this “Once upon a time” story, you will hear (A) how the idea of a statue came to life from a frenchman, Edouard Laboulaye who never stepped foot in America, but knew more about the US Constitution and America’s working government than most Americans; (B) how an inspired architect, Frédéric Bartholodi in conjunction with structural engineer, Gustave Eiffel (that’s right – the man who would design and erect the Eiffel Tower) overcame this engineering feat; and (C) how after two wars (one in America and one in France), dedicated people like Emma Lazarus did their part to raise enough funds to build the statue in Paris and the pedestal in NYC.
After learning more about the plight of the newly immigrated, Emma Lazarus dedicated the latter part of her life to educating and mentoring hundreds families and individuals who entered New York. Due to her impression of these American “newcomers,” the last stanza of Emma’s Poem, The New Collosus gives a matriarchal voice to Lady Liberty.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
For those of you unable to join us - spend some time with your children discussing “liberty” and their perceptions of personal freedoms as well as civic freedoms. Expand upon this universal symbol of freedom by making your own Statue of Liberty from paper, Legos, or deconstructed egg cartons. Their statue doesn’t have to look anything like the Lady Liberty, just inspired by their imaginings of how Liberty might be represented.
And of course, we will all attempt to answer – Why is the Statue of Liberty GREEN?
Below are a few of the books that my girls and I have experienced together in preparation for this Patriotic-themed parkday as well as 4th of July.