Restore the King

Delaware's Gambrinus Statue

Statue Restoration

By on June 1, 2016

The Delaware Gambrinus statue is only one of five statues known to exist that were cast from the same J.W. Fiske mold. The other four statues are currently on display in Baltimore, MD; Breinigsville, PA; Syracuse, NY; and Toluca, Mexico. At present, the more than 60 pieces of the fractured zinc Gambrinus statue are in storage awaiting restoration.

Maryland Historical Society's Gambrinus statue, Baltimore

Maryland Historical Society Museum (Baltimore, MD)

Dr. Carol Grissom, Senior Objects Conservator at the Smithsonian Museum Conservation Institute and author of Zinc Sculpture in America, 1850-1950, evaluated the statue’s pieces in August 2014 and confirmed that restoration was possible. Two nationally recognized conservation firms provided preliminary estimated quotes of between $60,000 and $100,000 to complete restoration work. The final total could be higher, depending on the amount of replication work required and other unforeseen factors.

Onondaga Historical Society's Gambrinus statue, Syracuse

Onondaga Historical Association Museum (Syracuse, NY)

Because portions of the statue were destroyed beyond repair or are otherwise missing, those sections will need to be replicated. Our organization has obtained a 3D model of an existing Fiske-designed statue based on laser scanning conducted in July 2020. During the next stage, we will scan all of the existing pieces of our statue to identify which parts need to be duplicated. Final restoration will involve duplicating the missing pieces, constructing a metal skeleton over top which the statue’s existing and newly created zinc pieces will be fused.

Samuel Adams Brewery (Breinigsville, PA)

Once assembly is complete, the statue will be painted to match as closely as possible the colors on the original Diamond State brewery statue. The approximate colors will be based on residual paint from the statue’s existing pieces, and archival descriptions, artwork, and brewery advertisements.

Modelo Museum of Science & Industry's Gambrinus statue (Toluca, Mexico)

Modelo Museum of Science & Industry (Toluca, MEX)

Once restoration is complete, a sturdy and architecturally correct base will be created at the museum destination to support the one thousand pound statue. An interactive, interpretive display describing the statue’s significance will accompany it.

Delaware King Gambrinus Statue Rendering (artist: Abby Peraria)