I had only ever seen the liberty bell from outside the glass building--both times I'd been to the historic part of philadelphia had been in the summertime and the line to see the bell had been wrapped around the building. This time, my friends and I just happened upon it with no real intention of going inside to see it, but when we arrived there was no line and we got in and out of the whole exhibit in 15 minutes. We spent several minutes wandering through the outdoor area which is apparently the former location of Washington's home. Some informative reenactments (shown on tv screens), signs, and timelines are staggered throughout the area in addition to an archaeological dig site which reveals some of the original foundation of the house. A sculpture of sorts with moving quotations from well-regarded African-Americans (Maya Angelou, Barack Obama, W.E.B. Dubois, etc.) honors the lives of the many African-Americans who lived and died in the area.
After a quick bag search, we were admitted to the indoor liberty bell center. They have several exhibits highlighting the bell's history, but we breezed by most of those. Once at the bell, we snapped a few photos, which I imagine would've been quite difficult had it been crowded, and left. I was shocked that we made it through in 15 minutes, especially since we were there at 3:30 on a Saturday in December (what I assumed was a heavy tourist time). I guess everyone was up shopping in center city. If you get a chance to see the liberty bell, you really should, but I could see it being somewhat anticlimactic if you had to wait in line for several hours before hand.
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