Insights

Ever look up and wonder: what the bell? We do every day! We're here to bring you fascinating facts and curious clues to the world of campanology in the nation's capital, with musings on the bells, buildings, and people that make this city ring.

The Georgetown Lutheran Bell Takes a Stand

When in the course of bell restoration, it becomes necessary for one bell to dissolve the bands which have connected it to the foundry, and to assume among the bells of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle it, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that it should declare the causes which impel it to the restoration. 

These Are the Women Who Make It Ring

We had some very special help this New Year’s Day during our bicentennial tribute to Harriet Tubman at the Military Women’s Memorial at Arlington National Cemetery. We were joined by seven incredible women Veterans representing the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines. Each impeccably credentialed, together they represent decades of selfless service and sacrifice to our nation. We were humbled by their warm and generous participation in our program.

Meet Ernestine Wyatt, 3x Great-Grandniece of Harriet Tubman

Ernestine “Tina” Martin Wyatt is a mother, grandmother, educator, nurse, artist…and great-great-great-grandniece of Harriet Tubman. Connected through her great-great-grandmother, Ann Marie Stewart (the daughter of Ms. Tubman’s sister Soph), Ms. Wyatt has become a champion for the legacy of her forebear. She has spearheaded Harriet Tubman Day in Washington, D.C., to preserve the memory and study of the abolitionist, while also campaigning for the inclusion of Ms. Tubman’s portrait on the twenty-dollar bill.
 

The Bells in James Bond's “No Time to Die”

James Bond is back in the newly-released film, “No Time to Die” (2021), which packs all the punch of a classic 007 flick: flashy cars, sultry lovers, maniacal villains, and non-stop action. Daniel Craig reprises the role for his fifth and final turn in the tuxedo and we simply loved the more romantic and emotional nuance to the character. But this isn’t a critical movie review. We’re here to answer the burning question on everyone’s minds: What about those bells?

Tour the Bell Tower at Washington National Cathedral

Where do you go to hear bells ring? If you’re at Washington National Cathedral, the walled Bishop’s Garden is the best place to experience the tintinnabulation. That’s where we found ourselves last Sunday morning, amiably wandering among the roses, boxwood, and splashes of seasonal color, when we met Mark Fitzpatrick. At the National Bell Festival, we’ll find any excuse to talk about bells, so with ringing cascading down from overhead, we invited Mark into the tower to see the bells up close.

What is Mexico’s Grito de Dolores?

Today, a shout rises from the Plaza de la Constitución (commonly called the Zócalo), beneath the balcony of the National Palace in México City. ¡Viva México! Over half a million spectators join in the cry. It is the start of México’s independence celebrations and, like any good event, it features the ringing of a bell.

Diary of a Southern Bell: CSS Alabama

In the autumn of 1984, a French minesweeper scouring the English Channel happened upon a most curious discovery: the wreckage of a Civil War-era commerce raider belonging to the Confederate States of America. How did this vessel come to lay a mere seven nautical miles off the coast of Cherbourg, France, and what pieces of history did the shallow waters preserve?
 

Bells as Propaganda: the 1936 Berlin Olympic Bell

We’re back with more Olympic history! This time with more sinister undertones. The year was 1936 and Adolf Hitler, craving the adoration of the world, was eager to portray a perfect German society during Berlin’s hosting of the 11th Summer Olympic Games. You and I both know life was not perfect at home – atrocities and civil rights abuses were already mounting before the start of World War II.

A Look Back at the 2012 London Olympic Bell

It’s the start of the Olympics! And while much can be argued about the propriety of hosting the Games during a pandemic, we certainly applaud the spirit of unity in diversity and friendly athletic competition the Games inspire. To mark the occasion, we look back on a recent ceremony full of campanological delight.
 

Beat the Heat with Seven Indoor Activities for the Family

As the relentless heat wave continues battering North America, we thought we’d drum-up some family-friendly activities that are perfect for an afternoon indoors – with air conditioning on full blast. These crafts and activities are suitable for all ages and interests. Ring a bell, read a poem, play a game…there are so many ways to have some fun!
 

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