“We were both raised in the tinsmithing business,” he remembered, “and here we are inside the statue looking up at all the intricacies of her robe. From a tinsmithing standpoint, it’s fascinating.”
Two months later, Heaphy, a talented actor and singer, had been hired by the folks at the Ellis Island museum to build and establish a theater there.
“The same people who oversee Ellis Island, oversee the statue,” Dennis observed. “So one day I asked, ‘What do I have to do to become the resident tin smith for the statue?’And I’m sure he’s going to laugh in my face. Two weeks later, he wants me to repair the windows in the crown.”
Immigrant experience enacted
For several years now, Dennis has been the primary tinsmith caring for the Statue of Liberty and he demonstrates the art of Repousse for the public daily at its base on Liberty Island. Repousse is the shaping or decorating of metal with patterns formed in relief by hammering and pressing on the reverse side.
And he continues his vibrant acting career with a fascinating one-man show which he’ll bring to Liverpool Public Library at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12. Admission is free; 457-0310; lpl.org.
The performance stars Dennis Heaphy as 19th century Russian an immigrant Boris Krasnikov who is being interviewed by an intake panel — where else? — at Ellis Island in New York City. It’s an impressive look into the immigrant experience that shapes so many Americans’ lives and legacies.
So where can you see the big, tin Heaphy Man?
Today, the metal man stands guard at the entrance of the Onondaga Historical Association’s museum gift shop at 321 Montgomery St., downtown.
Rest room renovation?
Why was master carpenter Joe Romano loitering in the ladies’ room at The Retreat in the wee hours last week?