Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!
Happy 4th of July!
Growing up in the NYC public school system, one of our rites of passage was the class trip to Philadelphia to see the Liberty Bell. I don’t remember much about that trip besides horsing around with my friends on the bus and touching the actual Liberty Bell with my grubby 4th grade hands! Years later, this proved problematic when a crazed tourist attacked the unprotected bell with a hammer.
And so, in 2003, the NPS moved the bell to its new home in the shiny new Liberty Bell Pavilion, across the street from Independence Hall. The pavilion is a block-long building dedicated to the Liberty Bell and its long and interesting history.
Exhibits from different periods of the bell’s history line the walls of the long building leading to the bell at the far end. Most know the bell as a symbol of the American Revolution, but it has been a symbol of freedom for us in many other conflicts throughout our history.
The Liberty Bell rang in the Declaration of Independence in July 1776 and famously cracked down the middle. It symbolized the abolitionist movement during the Civil War. This bell has seen and done a lot! There is a film in the exhibit just before the bell that I recommend watching. It’s very informative, and our friends from France who were touring with us enjoyed it very much.
The bell itself is not encased in glass, but it is behind a railing. Security stands guard in case you managed to sneak your hammer past the xray machine. You’ll have to be somewhat aggressive if you want a photo with the bell. There are a lot of tourists trying for the same shot with the famous crack. If you are lucky enough to get there before the selfie hordes, you may be able to capture the bell with Independence Hall in the background.
Location: N 6th St & Market St, Philadelphia, PA
Designation: National Historical Park
Date designated/established: 1951
Date of my visit: August 2017