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Collection Tier:
Tier 2

Photographs
Magic Lantern Slides
Magic Lantern Slideshow - American Revolution ➔ Lantern Slide, Liberty Bell

Identifier:
2021.6.14.30
Description:
This colored photographic lantern slide labeled "[illegible] liberty throughout all the land and to all the inhabitants thereof" - Liberty Bell Independence Hall, Philadelphia" depicting the cracked Liberty Bell.

The State House bell, now known as the Liberty Bell, rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House. Today, we call that building Independence Hall. Speaker of the Pennsylvania Assembly Isaac Norris first ordered a bell for the bell tower in 1751 from the Whitechapel Foundry in London. That bell cracked on the first test ring. Local metalworkers John Pass and John Stow melted down that bell and cast a new one right here in Philadelphia. It's this bell that would ring to call lawmakers to their meetings and the townspeople together to hear the reading of the news. Benjamin Franklin wrote to Catherine Ray in 1755, "Adieu, the Bell rings, and I must go among the Grave ones and talk Politicks." The bells were rung on July 8,1776 to mark the reading of the United States Declaration of Independence. It's not until the 1830's that the old State House bell would begin to take on significance as a symbol of liberty.

No one recorded when or why the Liberty Bell first cracked, but the most likely explanation is that a narrow split developed in the early 1840's after nearly 90 years of hard use. In 1846, when the city decided to repair the bell prior to George Washington's birthday holiday (February 23), metal workers widened the thin crack to prevent its farther spread and restore the tone of the bell using a technique called "stop drilling". The wide "crack" in the Liberty Bell is actually the repair job! Look carefully and you'll see over 40 drill bit marks in that wide "crack". But, the repair was not successful. The Public Ledger newspaper reported that the repair failed when another fissure developed. This second crack, running from the abbreviation for "Philadelphia" up through the word "Liberty", silenced the bell forever. No one living today has heard the bell ring freely with its clapper

This slide is part of slideshow 2021.6.14 about the American Revolution utilized for educational purposes by the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
Date:
1910 – 1950
Materials:
Glass
Dimensions:
4" h 3.25" w
Makers/Donors
Victor Animatograph Company
The Victor Animatograph Corporation was founded in Davenport, Iowa by Alexander F. Victor in 1910 as a maker of projection equipment. The company was a large producer of lantern slides and patented their featherweight slide, a single piece of glass with durable emulsion is framed by a cardboard mat, on October 5, 1915. Although the featherweight slide was lighter than the typical lantern slide as it was made out of a single piece of glass instead of double, it was more fragile. 

Grand Rapids Public Museum
The Grand Rapids Lyceum of Natural History was established in 1854 by a group of civic leaders, inspired by a movement sweeping the country. Followers of the Lyceum Movement believed that education, in the form of libraries, museums, lectures and discussions, and public schools, could help right the illnesses of society and preserve democracy.

In the early 1860s the Civil War had put a halt to the activities of the Lyceum. But in the summer of 1865, the war was over, and the enthusiasm of a group of teenage boys for new ideas about science and nature would bring the fledgling Museum back to life.

In 1868 the Grand Rapids Lyceum of Natural History and the Grand Rapids Scientific Club merged to form the Kent Scientific Institute. The new organization successfully combined the youthful enthusiasm of local high school students with the experience of prominent civic leaders to create a successful museum for their community.

In 1881, the Kent Scientific Institute reached an agreement with the Board of Education which allowed them to store their collections at Central High School.

In February of 1903, the Board of Education agreed to purchase the Howlett House, at the corner of Jefferson and Washington, to be the permanent home of the Kent Scientific Institute.

The "new" Grand Rapids Public Museum was built during the Great Depression with WPA funds from the Federal Government. The building itself was a radical departure from most contemporary museums, and was described by Museum Director Frank DuMond as "accessible as a dime store and friendly as your next door neighbor."

The Grand Rapids Public Museum began experimenting with planetarium equipment in the early 1960s, and hired its first curator for the new technology in 1964. The planetarium was eventually named after Grand Rapids astronaut Roger B. Chaffee, who was killed in the Apollo I disaster on January 27, 1967.

In 1989, the Grand Rapids Public Museum took over the management of the Voigt House in the Heritage Hill Neighborhood. The opulent home was built in 1895 and includes more than 100 years of the Voigt family's possessions.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum's current facility opened in 1994 on the west bank of the Grand River in the heart of downtown. It contains three floors of exhibits, the Roger B. Chaffee Planetarium, the Cook Carousel Pavilion, Meijer Theater, cafe, and gift shop.
 

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