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The Liberty Bell: Do Customized Tours Leave Out The Facts?

I used a special “Philadelphia City Tour” to entertain my lnlaws

I live in Philadelphia and two weeks ago, my inlaws came for a visit. My father-in-law is easy to please, but my mother-in-law is very difficult to make happy. I had prior success with another event using Corporate Sedan Service, so knowing that they had City Tours as an offering on their website, I called them.

Going with what I know about them (my mother-in-law is a teacher and as I said, my father-in-law is easy going), the tour specialist and I mapped out a great tour of Philadelphia’s best historical sites

First on the list was The Liberty Bell-A symbol of freedom both in Philadelphia and across America, this cracked bell is on display along with information about the bell’s history and its significance to America. What is written about the history of the bell, however, falls short of the entire history of this great symbol.

The Liberty Bell, A symbol of freedom both in Philadelphia and across America, this cracked bell is on display along with information about the bell’s history and its significance to America. What is written about the history of the bell, however, falls short of the entire history of this great symbol. Let’ look at some little known facts about the bell. (1) First, the truth. In July 1776, after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the Liberty Bell, then known as the State House Bell, hung in silence. Many bells, maybe all of the bells in the entire city, were rung in celebration. Not the Liberty Bell. Its old, original wooden tower was just too rickety. The nation’s founders, in rooms below, were revolutionary, not foolish.

Lately, folks in tourism circles are using the phrase: “beyond the bell.” They seem to denigrate the bronze in going for visitors’ gold. Without question, we’ll want to develop all facets of history, but no single object in American secular life has ever been so strong a symbol as the Liberty Bell. It’s the glue that binds Philadelphia and tourism. The bell opens the window into all of history as nothing else can.

Before the mid-19th century, the nation’s abolitionists adopted the State House Bell as a symbol for their cause. They played up the irony of a cracked, silenced “Liberty Bell” in a nation where slavery remained legal. The bell’s supposed role in the Revolution was essential to the abolitionists’ spin, but they focused harder on the bell’s Old Testament inscription.

Leviticus (25:10) details God’s instructions to Moses on how to conduct free life in Israel. While the bell’s famous inscription is most often considered a premonition of the American Independence, God’s command to ”Proclaim liberty throughout all the land and to all the inhabitants thereof,” was accompanied with the further instructions that, after 50 years of settlement, followers of Moses would “return every man unto his possession and . . . return every man unto his family.” That passage was aptly chosen in 1751, on the 50th anniversary of William Penn’s Charter of Privileges, a document that gave Philadelphians the power of self rule.

The Bell, now called the Liberty Bell was cast in the Whitechapel Foundry in the East End of London and sent to the building currently known as Independence Hall, then the Pennsylvania State House, in 1753.

It was an impressive looking object, 12 feet in circumference around the lip with a 44-pound clapper. Inscribed at the top was part of a Biblical verse from Leviticus, “Proclaim Liberty throughout all the Land unto all the Inhabitants thereof.”

Unfortunately, the clapper cracked the bell on its first use. A couple of local artisans, John Pass and John Stow, recast the bell twice, once adding more copper to make it less brittle and then adding silver to sweeten its tone. No one was quite satisfied, but it was put in the tower of the State House anyway.

The Liberty Bell has a new home, and it is as powerful and dramatic as the Bell itself. Throughout the expansive, light-filled Center, larger-than-life historic documents and graphic images explore the facts and the myths surrounding the Bell.

X-rays give an insider’s view, literally, of the Bell’s crack and inner-workings. In quiet alcoves, a short History Channel film, available in English and eight other languages, traces how abolitionists, suffragists and other groups adopted the Bell as its symbol of freedom.

Other exhibits show how the Bell’s image was used on everything from ice cream molds to wind chimes. Keep your camera handy. Soaring glass walls offer dramatic and powerful views of both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, just a few steps away.

  • The Liberty Bell is composed of approximately 70 percent copper, 25 percent tin and traces of lead, zinc, arsenic, gold and silver.
  • The Bell is suspended from what is believed to be its original yoke, made of American elm.
  • The Liberty Bell weighs 2,080 pounds. The yoke weighs about 100 pounds.

By the way: Corporate Sedan Service was created to assist people touring Philadelphia in every way. We can help with all of your private car or limousine needs with one phone call to (888) 258-9555. If you would like any type of rate quote while you’re planning, just use the button below.

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The Liberty Bell: Do Customized Tours Leave Out The Facts?

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