In 2006, the National Building Arts Center entered into a relationship with the Brooklyn Museum that has allowed it to acquire a number of significant artifacts from the Brooklyn Museum’s collection. Recently, the Brooklyn Museum agreed to transfer an historic thirty-foot replica of the Statue of Liberty to the Building Arts Center.
The statue, known in New York City as Little Liberty, was commissioned by the patriotic auctioneer William H. Flattau to crown his eight-story Liberty Warehouse at 43 West 64th Street. Celebrated statue-builder W. H. Mullins (1890-1928) constructed Little Liberty in Salem, Ohio from galvanized sheet iron on a structural steel frame.
Little Liberty traveled to New York on a flatbed train car. and was installed in 1902. At the time, her placement ensured high visibility throughout the upper west side, and an interior staircase allowed the public to enjoy a prime view down Broadway until its closure in 1912.
On December 19th, 2001, the Athena Group, a New York developer, announced plans to renovate the building into apartments, with a four-story addition displacing the statue. The Athena Group pledged to preserve Little Liberty “under all circumstances,” and, on February 17th, 2002, donated her to the Brooklyn Museum. From 2005 to 2006, Conservation Solutions restored the statue and installed her atop a new, simplified base in the Brooklyn Museum’s sculpture garden.