NPS Relocates the Bicentennial Bell

bicentennial bell move

Release Date: January 31, 2013
Contact: Adam Duncan, e-mail us, 215-597-0060

Philadelphia - On July 6, 1976, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain presented the Bicentennial Bell to the people of the United States in celebration of the bicentennial of the United States of America. On January 31, 2013, the Bicentennial Bell was moved by the National Park Service from the bell tower at 3rd and Chestnut Streets into Independence National Historical Park's museum storage, where it will be kept until the new display for the bell is completed.

Work on the bell move began early Monday morning, as contractors prepared the site for removal. The prime contractor for this work was NorthWind Engineering from St. Louis, MO. The subcontractor in c harge of the rigging aspects of the job was George Young Company of Philadelphia. GYCo, a fourth generation Philadelphia company, benefitted from its experience moving another famous bell: they also moved the Liberty Bell from the Liberty Bell Pavilion to the newly constructed Liberty Bell Center in 2005!

On Thursday morning at 11, the 12,446 pound Bicentennial Bell was lifted out of the top of the 130-foot tower by a 240-ton crane parked in 3rd Street and lowered to the ground. Once at ground level, the bell was prepared for storage. The clapper was removed and crated. The bell was wrapped in rust inhibiting sheets and crated for storage. The two bronze plaques describing the bell's origins were also crated. The crates will be kept in an off-site, climate controlled secured storage building. The crated bell, clapper, and plaques will remain in storage until they return to the park for permanent display.

The bell was cast in 1976 by Whitechapel Foundry in London, the same company that produced the original Liberty Bell in 1751. The Bicentennial Bell weighs 12,446 pounds, is 6 feet 10 ½ inches in diameter, and 5 feet 6 inches in height.

In her remarks in 1976, the Queen spoke specifically of the Liberty Bell, making it clear that the Bicentennial Bell is part of a long historical relationship between the two nations. The inscription on the bell reads:

4 JULY 1976

Photographs from the move are available at More information about the Bell and the full text of the speech given by Queen Elizabeth II is available at

A unit of the National Park Service, Independence National Historical Park was created by an Act of Congress on June 28, 1948. Accredited by the American Association of Museums, Independence NHP covers almost 54 acres in Philadelphia's Old City, and includes Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, Franklin Court, and other historic buildings associated with the founding of the United States. The park is open from 9:00 am daily with the exception of Christmas day. A visit to Independence National Historical Park should start at the Independence Visitor Center, located at 6th and Market Streets. Here, visitors can pick up a park brochure, park map, and the free, timed tickets required for Independence Hall. For more information visit the park's website, follow us at

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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