How to display an old cast iron school bell

Written by cheryl munson
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How to display an old cast iron school bell
Display an old school bell to connect the past with the present. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

An old school bell is a classic vintage collectable. Display the bell to honour the history and establishment of a school, its founders and leaders. Use the bell as a tangible icon to celebrate and promote the promises that an education can provide to students. Wherever and however it is displayed, it should have a place of prominence to inspire learning and the student in everyone -- young and old.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Bell
  • Hanger (if needed)
  • Plaque (optional)
  • Pedestal (if needed)

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  1. 1

    Construct a square pedestal for an outdoor display of the bell on a school property. Use materials such as brick or concrete. Make the pedestal 3 to 4 feet wide on all sides to create a square pedestal and 5 to 6 feet high so that the bell will display prominently. Hang the bell from a custom-made metal hanger that will withstand the weight of the bell and outdoor weather. Add a bronze or engraved stone or marble plaque to inscribe the name of the school and the date it was established, such as “John Smith Elementary School, Established 1932.”

  2. 2

    Erect an indoor display for the bell in the main hallway. Create a modern arch with steel or wood to hang the bell from the centre. Consider abstract shapes to blend the old with the new. Use bright, vibrant colours to paint each piece of steel or wood or use the colours of the school.

  3. 3

    Install a hanger to display the bell on a major wall space inside the school, such as outside the principal’s office or at the entrance to the auditorium. Flank the bell with a “wall of fame” of framed photographs of every principal who presided since the school began.

  4. 4

    Create a display that inspires success and achievement. Make a mobile pedestal so that you can move the bell from classroom to classroom and other locations such as the auditorium or gymnasium. Let students rub the bell for good luck when they compete in such activities as spelling bees and when they give speeches, take exams, run for class office or take part in an athletic competition.

  5. 5

    Move the bell to be displayed for a month in the classroom of the educator selected as “teacher of the month.” Give each teacher the “bell passing” duty of rolling the bell to classroom of the following teacher of the month.

  6. 6

    Display an old school bell in your home as a vintage piece of art. Use the bell as a centrepiece on a fireplace mantle. Erect a hanger outside your front door to display a small bell or display a larger bell in a rock garden in your front yard. Use the bell as a garden accent piece on an iron hanger placed near a gazebo, water feature or flower garden.

Tips and warnings

  • Have a bell-ringing ceremony to mark the installation of the bell display. Hold ceremonies again on the first and last day of school each year, by giving the principal the honour of signalling the start and finish of the school year. Invite parents, legislators, and school board and community members to attend.

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