Since 1922, a statue of the young Joan of Arc has been a key feature of what is now Meridian Hill Park, a national park in Washington, DC. Donated by the Société des Femmes de France of New York and dedicated by the wife of the French Ambassador, the statue was described as a gift from the women of France to the women of the United States.
In September 2016, a vandal stole the statue’s sword. With support from A+E Networks’ HISTORY and Lifetime, a new sword was fabricated along with other raw ironwork needed to repair and preserve the only equestrian statue of a woman in the District of Columbia.
In March 2018, the Joan of Arc statue was re-outfitted for battle and revealed to the public as part of the National Park Service’s commemoration of Women’s History Month. A+E Networks’ History, Herstory campaign highlighted the project, not only chronicling the repair of the statue, but also exploring the story of Joan of Arc and the history of the statue itself.
Sculpted by Paul Dubois, the 10-foot-long, 9-foot-high bronze equestrian statue depicts the teenaged Joan of Arc seated on horseback, sword drawn, presumably leading her French troops into battle against the Burgundians in the 100 Years War. It is identical to a memorial in front of the Reims Cathedral in France created by the same sculptor and has been a community fixture in Meridian Hill Park since the park’s terrace opened in 1936.