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Washington Memorial Heritage Show

Saturday 7AM


Ringing the Justice Bell tells the ongoing story of the Justice bell and its home, Washington Memorial Chapel.


The Justice Bell, known as the women’s Liberty Bell, was used between 1915 and 1920 to call attention to and gain support for the campaign for Women’s Suffrage.  A replica of the Liberty Bell, “establish justice” was added to its inscription and the clapper was chained to its side, silencing the 2000 pound bell.  The Bell’s casting was commissioned by Chester County’s Katharine Wentworth Ruschenberger, an active member of the National Women Suffrage Association, which later became the League of Women Voters.

On June 15th, 1915 the Justice Bell began a whistle stop tour of Pennsylvania in support of a proposed amendment to the Pennsylvania state constitution giving women the right to vote. The tour covered more than 5000 miles, crisscrossing every one of the state’s 67 counties in less than 6 months.  When the state amendment failed to pass, the women turned their attention to an amendment to the US constitution, and the bell was used to support the cause of Women’s Suffrage at national political party conventions as far away as Chicago and rallies in Washington DC.

On September 13, 2015, the 100th anniversary celebration of the Justice Bell was held at the Washington Memorial Chapel. During the event, the clapper of the bell was rechained in symbolic memory of the bell’s origins.

Did You Know: The Justice Bell and the Fight for Women’s Access to the Vote

2020 and Beyond

On August 25, 2020, the 100th anniversary celebration of the ratification of the 19th Amendment will kick off at Freedoms Foundation. Following a special jump performed by nationally acclaimed female skydivers of The Highlight Pro Team, the bell will be christened with a champagne bottle for its journey to Philadelphia. The all-female team will then lead a caravan down the road to the National Patriots Bell Tower at the Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historical Park where an old-fashioned suffrage program will take place. The Centennial Commemoration will ensue the next day on August 26 in front of Independence National Historic Park where the bell will be unchained and rung ceremoniously with music, dignitaries, and speakers. The Justice Bell will remain on display in close proximity to the Liberty Bell until after Constitution Day, September 17, 2020.   To learn more and to donate go to JUSTICEBELL2020


The Washington Memorial Chapel was built as a tribute to General George Washington and the patriot soldiers of Valley Forge, inspired by founder and first rector, the Rev. Dr. W. Herbert Burk, of Norristown, Pennsylvania.

In June 1903 the cornerstone was laid on private property donated by the I. Heston Todd family. Designed by Milton B. Medary, Jr., the Chapel was erected as an active parish as well as a national memorial to Washington and the Continental Army, welcoming visitors from all over the world and serving as a “wayside chapel” for those who visit Valley Forge National Historical Park.  The Chapel was completed in 1917.


Both the Chapel and the Washington Memorial Heritage are private organizations and receive no funding from the National Park Service and are not formally affiliated with the Valley Forge National Historical Park.

Washington Memorial Heritage was created as a secular nonprofit technically separate from the Chapel itself, qualifying as a charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code. This allows foundations and individuals who might not contribute to a purely religious organization to aid in the preservation of this magnificent building, which has been described one of the foremost examples of Gothic Revi architecture in the United States.

Learn more and become a friend of the Justice Bell and the Washington Memorial Chapel

Call 610.783.5414