"The Spirit of America" Is a Unique Combination of History and Art – See It at Ellis Island





Music has been called a universal language, and now a unique musical instrument has been created to commemorate not only two important historic sites, but also some ideals that are central to the story of our nation. The Spirit of America Gibson Les Paul Guitar has just gone on display at Ellis Island in New York, and you can see it there until next August.

The concept of honoring historic structures and sites by incorporating bits and pieces from those locations isn't new, but this idea may be unique: materials preserved from the 1986 restoration of the Statue of Liberty and of Ellis Island have been used to create a one-of-a-kind guitar named The Spirit of America Gibson Les Paul Guitar.

This instrument was crafted by a company that is itself considered an icon by many in the world of music: Gibson’s Custom & Historic Division in Nashville, Tennessee. The guitar’s entire body is made from wood that came from the Main Building at Ellis Island, and the decorative inlay and hardware were crafted from copper salvaged during the Statue of Liberty’s restoration. Additionally, Gibson created a unique display for the guitar from a piece of one of the Statue’s armature bars—part of the framework that attaches her copper skin to her internal support structure.

The instrument is the second in a series of 50 works of art (one for each of the 50 states) that will be made from materials preserved from the 1986 restoration of the Statue of Liberty and of Ellis Island. These works will be known as “Liberty Ambassadors,” and according to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation, "will serve to inspire hope and freedom while celebrating America’s diversity." ...



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