Recreating the Cardiff Giant

ms cardiff giant
Syracuse-based artist Ty Marshal has created a replica of the Cardiff Giant, according to its original size specifications (ten-feet tall). His replica is going to be buried in Syracuse's Lipe Art Park and then unearthed on October 16, the anniversary of the date on which the Giant was first "found" on William Newell's farm back in 1869.

After being unearthed, Marshal's giant will remain on display in the park, under a tent, for one week. Visitors will be allowed to view it for 25 cents. Then, using a horse and cart, the Giant will be transported to the Atrium in Syracuse's City Hall Commons where it will be displayed until the end of October. Visitors will also be able to buy Cardiff Giant-themed merchandise: soap, chocolate, wine, and coffee. (As a long-time collector of hoax-themed merchandise, I HAVE to get all of that stuff!)

You can find more details about Marshal's project on his website:

There's actually a long history of recreating the Cardiff Giant. Back in the 1870s quite a few showmen paid artists to recreate the Giant, which they then displayed, as a way to cash in on the popular interest in the phenomenon. The most famous of these replicas was displayed by P.T. Barnum in New York City, and (much to the annoyance of the owners of the real giant) attracted more visitors than the actual giant, which was simultaneously on display a few blocks away.

In 1976, a service club in Cardiff, New York created a "Mrs. Cardiff Giant", which they buried and then unearthed. You can see it (note the breasts) in the slightly blurry picture below.

ms cardiff giant

Currently there are four Cardiff Giants on display (not counting Marshal's new one): at the Farmer's Museum in Cooperstown (this is the real giant), the Fort Museum in Fort Dodge, Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Detroit, and the Circus Museum in Baraboo, Wisconsin.

Art Celebrations History

Posted on Thu Sep 29, 2011


I must have missed the one in Baraboo, but I've seen the ones in Cooperstown and Farmington Hills(the latter, which they claim is Barnum's replica, doesn't look much like the original, but I guess it didn't have to).

I went to Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum to see their Giant, but I was impressed by the rest of the place. They've got a huge collection of antique arcade games (and other coin-operated machines), and most of them are functional.

Maybe I saw the one in Baraboo but wasn't impressed by it. I can't believe I went through that museum and missed it.

I was in Fort Dodge once but didn't have time to look for the museum. Fort Dodge is significant because that was the source of the stone from which the original Giant was carved. But I guess we all know that.
Posted by George P Burdell  on  Sat Oct 01, 2011  at  11:10 AM
George - I saw the one in Marvin's Museum also, and I doubt it's Barnum's replica, which was apparently of pretty high quality. There were lots of replicas made over the years, and Marvin probably has one of these. Marvin himself doesn't claim to have any documentation linking his replica to Barnum.
Posted by The Curator  in  San Diego  on  Sat Oct 01, 2011  at  05:41 PM
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