Visiting the Liberty Bell

Of course, even in a carriage, Trixie was barred from entering the hallowed ground of the Liberty Bell’s Museum. So Mum waited outside with Trixie while Pops went through first, and then Mum took a turn. Pops told me all about what he had seen inside while we waited for Mum to go through the long modern building.

After going through security, Pops went down the long corridor, with theaters on the right to show off an 11 minute film about the bell, and exhibits on the bell in the American Consciousness as an icon, a symbol, and a piece of marketing material. Yes, from the start, they had to market America. The lighting inside was dim, the layout demi-organic with curved walls, and the exterior that awful new architecture that remains in favor, with exposed bits of metal hanging out over the red brick and frameless glass windows. It really does not sit well next to Independence Hall, except at one point.

That point is the nexus of the temple itself, the Liberty Bell. It stands in a truncated triangular chamber, watched over by a security guard who will tell you not to talk on your cell phone too near the bell. Mom found that out. The bell at least almost hovers above the floor on two steel beams, its ancient bronze and crack – that was intended to fix the chime – shining in the muted light. It’s yoke, a blackened piece of elm completed the classic image, and by design the broad open window beyond its chained-in display area looked out upon Independence Hall, providing an ideal view for photographers. Only a ring of chain and the guard kept anyone from touching the bell – a bell that has lost several pounds of metal over the centuries as people nipped out souvenirs of it to keep.

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