Bartholdi Museum – Colmar, France - Atlas Obscura

Bartholdi Museum

The birthplace of the builder of the Statue of Liberty is now a museum dedicated to his work. 


French sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, was born in Colmar, France, in 1834. From his humble beginnings, Bartholdi went on to an illustrious career that birthed some of America’s and France’s greatest monuments, including the Statue of Liberty and the Lion of Belfort. However, after his death, his childhood home was turned into a museum dedicated to the artist’s works.  

Appropriately, Bartholdi’s work is everywhere at this museum. Visitors enter through the gates to find a small courtyard with a beautiful statue of four women holding the world. To the right is the entrance, the doors of which have been declared a historic landmark unto themselves. After entering the Bartholdi Museum, visitors can see many of the artist’s lesser known works. However, the curators take care to show his creative process as well — for instance, one finished statue still has preliminary lumps of clay and faces of plaster beside it.

All said, the museum covers three floors full of Bartholdi’s works. Unsurprisingly, there is a special little section that holds probably the crown jewels of the collection: the original models for both the Statue of Liberty and the Lion of Belfort. They are, understandably, much smaller than the colossal finished products, but they are not less impressive. 

The Bartholdi Museum – a gem in Colmar that shows excellent insight into the mind of a genius – sees thousands of visitors pass through its historic doors each year. The Statue of Liberty still stands tall in New York, and Bartholdi’s legacy still thrives back in Colmar.

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