Befiker's Exhibit


Boston Irish Famine Memorial

People all around the world came to the United States to better not only their lives, but their families. In this exhibit, I specifically highlighted the Scottish and Irish. Like many other immigrants they have faced many hardships in their homeland. However, their hardship did not just stop there. Difficult times awaited the Scottish and Irish as they migrated to the United States and even when they arrived they faced similar obstacles in their quest for a better life. In this exhibit, I will argue that the Irish and Scottish while different people who were in different situations, still share similar hardships migrating to the United States on their quest for greater opportunity. 

The Irish famine memorial showcases the struggles of the Irish people while showing the success of other Irish people who migrated to the United States had. The Irish potato famine began in 1845. A fungus like organism destroyed the potato crops of the Irish people who relied heavily on potatoes. About ¾ of their potato crops was destroyed for the next 7 years which lead to the death of about a million Irish from starvation and about another million Irish were forced to leave their homelands. This monument depicts this event, but shows two vastly different experiences. 

There are two sculptures facing each other, but from a distance. On one side there is a sculpture of a man sitting down and a woman on her knees. They are both extremely skinny and have on inadequate clothing. There is also an empty bowl sitting right beside them. The man doesn't have a shirt on and both figures look overall very rough. The woman is also on her knees with her hand in the air giving the impression that she is praying. On the opposite sculpture there is a man, a woman, and a child. All three are dressed very well and look very fit. Unlike the other sculpture, all three are walking. This contrasts depicts the struggling, anxious immigrant transforming to a new life in America with opportunity and freedom. This memorial is visited by over 3 million people per year.This memorial reflects on Ireland during the potato famine. It shows one family that is impoverished and greatly suffering while another family is thriving because of new opportunities found in America. Some say the memorial honors Irish-Americans as they have found a way to prosper, but there are also critics that say the memorial mocks the famine itself and Irish people affected. 

Boston Irish Famine Memorial

Funkstown Bridge

This bridge was constructed by Irish immigrants. This is where the saying “paying off the dead horse,” came out. This is because they worked on the bridge to pay off the cost it took to immigrate from their home country to America. Working conditions were rough and locals would provoke and taunt the immigrants. The bridge was finished in 1823, but since then had some work done to it. In 1931 the bridge was widened. Irish immigrants worked on this bridge to pay off the cost it took for them to get to America. Paying off the passage from their old country to America gave birth to the phrase “paying off the dead horse.” It also shows the resiliency of the Irish as they worked through rough conditions and torment by locals.

Scottish Immigrants

Philadelphia is a major destination because of its booming ports which made it a very natural destination for Scottish immigrants. These immigrants were seeking a new place with new opportunities. Many were very poor and in need. The memorial shows the strides the Scottish have made. The memorial depicts a Scottish family that is fighting for better opportunities. It shows the resilience and tenacity of the Scottish. It also honors their hard work and their perseverance through struggle that eventually led to a better life. It also shows how hard the Scottish worked to give a better life for their kids.