The Museum’s replica of the Statue of Liberty had been on top of the Liberty Warehouse on 64th, and Broadway since it was made around 1900. The statue was removed from the building in 2002 and transported to the Museum where it was installed in its present location in the parking lot in 2005.
The Museum’s statue is made of many thin metal sheets that are mechanically secured to an interior armature, much like the manufacturing techniques of the original Statue of Liberty installed in 1885. The difference is the Museum’s statue is made of painted galvanized iron sheets, whereas the Lady in the harbor is made of copper sheeting, and the present color is the result of a corrosion patina.
The replica was routinely re-painted as part of the building’s maintenance. Examination of the numerous paint layers indicates that initially the statue was brown. The original statue’s metal surface could have aged to a brown patina by the turn of the 19th century when the replica was first painted. As the patina on the Lady in the Harbor changed becoming the familiar green we know today, the paint layers on the Museum’s lady could also have been changed to match.
The Museum is undertaking a conservation treatment to remove the unstable paint layers.
The contract conservation firm that will be treating the replication is Conservation Solutions. Their web site is http://www.conservationsolution.com/. The treatment will start on May 5 with the delivery of a scissor lift which will accommodate the cleaning with high pressure water removing the layers of paint, repairing losses and unstable areas in the underlying metal structure, and repainting the statue in a green similar to the patina now on the original, using a paint system formulated for outdoor use. The images show the set up for the paint containment before water blasting.
The treatment is expected to be complete by June 1st. Check back for daily postings on the progress.
Lisa Bruno is the head conservator of objects at the Brooklyn Museum, where she has been working since 1993. She has previously worked at the Art Institute of Chicago, and has had internships at The Cleveland Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and in private practice. She has a Masters Degree in Art Conservation from the University of Delaware, Winterthur Museum Art Conservation Department. She is a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation.