Hundreds of years ago, the Zion’s Reformed United Church of Christ stood as the first place of worship in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and provided refuge for colonists during Indian raids, acted as a hospital during the Revolutionary war, and even served as a site for the reading of the Declaration of Independence. Today, this treasure of America’s history is logged in the National Register of Historic Places and stands strong and proud as the Liberty Bell Museum. Home to an exact replica of the famous Liberty Bell as well as exhibits, displays, events, and more, this museum is a must-see when you’re in the area – and it’s just a quick 15-minute drive from the Sayre Mansion! Here are some things you should know about the Liberty Bell Museum.
History of The Liberty Bell Museum
This historic facility began as The Liberty Bell Shrine when members of the Zion’s church came together to build something that represented the church’s role in America’s story – safeguarding one of the nation’s most sacred symbols of freedom. The shrine was visited by elementary schools as part of their history curriculum, scout troops eager to fulfill badge requirements, and those who wanted to know the story of the bells’ journey from Philadelphia to Allentown. Now recognized as The Liberty Bell Museum and an Education Improvement Organization, the church hosts changing exhibits, a lecture series, historical re-enactments, and more that are fun for the whole family.
Top 3 Things to Do at the Museum
- Explore the Exhibits: The exhibits are always changing at The Liberty Bell Museum, so you know there will be something new to discover each time you visit! Currently, the 3Rs to S.T.E.A.M. exhibit tells the story of Allentown School District’s metamorphosis from what it was 150 years ago to today, and the upcoming anniversary of St. John’s UCC exhibit is also celebrating 150 years. Year-round, guests can enjoy showcases about Revolutionary and Civil Wars and, of course, the Liberty Bell replica.
- Meet Pip the Mouse: The Liberty Bell Museum even has its own mascot! In 1962, Pip premiered in his own puppet show entitled “The Mouse Before Christmas.” He instantly became a huge hit and was beloved by thousands of Allentown citizens. After many years of starring in the annual puppet show, he and his pals were donated to The Liberty Bell Museum, where a modernized version of The Mouse Before Christmas is shown every holiday season. Pip frequently makes visits to the museum and loves to interact with all of the visiting children.
- Attend a Service: If you are interested in experiencing a church sermon, the Zion’s United Church of Christ still holds weekly Sunday services in the sanctuary. It’s fascinating to know that the same pews that welcome guests today were also used by colonists hundreds of years ago, before America was even born.
Book Your Stay at the Sayre Mansion!
Whether you’re a full-blown history buff or are just looking for a fun day out with the kids, the Liberty Bell Museum is a great place to explore – but before you start making plans to visit, be sure to book your stay at our Bethlehem bed and breakfast! Built in 1858, our inn features historic charm and luxurious accommodations that will make your trip to Pennsylvania one you’ll never forget. We can’t wait to hear all about your adventures!
Photo Credit: Songquan Deng | Thinkstock