Park Authority

Fairfax County, Virginia

CONTACT INFORMATION: Open during regular business hours 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Monday - Friday

703-324-8700
TTY 711

12055 Government Center Pkwy.
Fairfax, Virginia 22035

Jai Cole,
Executive Director

artiFACTS

The Fairfax County Park Authority’s Museum Collections are home to more than 5,000 museum objects (chairs, quilts, baskets, machines, clothing) ,
thousands of archival items (photographs, maps, letters and other documents), upwards of three million artifacts (archaeological discoveries such as spear points, pottery) . They are the stories of Fairfax County.

School Bell

School Bell

The electronic bells that signal the start of classes at today’s schools have a long and humble history.

This handbell is linked to a schoolhouse at Bailey’s Crossroads. The donors, two sisters, said their father attended the one-room schoolhouse there. Edgar H. Bailey, born in 1889, often reminisced to his daughters about going to school early to chop wood for the pot-bellied stove.

The earliest bells, which were likely made from pottery before metal, are from China in the third millennium BC, and bells have had many uses over their long history. Western Civilization credits the development of the handbell to two brothers in England.

The Bailey’s Crossroads bell is brass with a wooden handle and a small brass knob on top. The clapper, a round knob, is attached inside by a thin hook and helps distinguish it from other handbells. In a traditional English handbell, the clapper is hinged and moves only back-and-forth. The clapper in this bell can swing freely in any direction.

Teachers used to use bells such as this as a communication tool, ringing a bell to signal nearby students that it was time for school or recess was over. School furniture catalogs from the turn of the century sold handbells for anywhere from 40 cents to $1.50, depending on the size.

Many credit the common use of bells in schools to noted education reformer Horace Mann. Schools today continue to sound electronic “bells” through their PA system to begin school, when classes change, and when is school is over. However, there are many who have called for this practice to stop, citing the sound as an unnecessary outdated tradition at best and Pavlovian conditioning at worst.

Whatever their future, the sound of bells will never be separated from the history of the beginning of public schools in the United States.

Other artiFacts

The Bomb that Didn’t Burst in Air
The Bomb that Didn’t Burst in Air
A Very Rare Find
Snowballs in Summer
A Very Rare Find
A Very Rare Find
Grow your History Knowledge with a Pretty Flowerpot
Grow your History Knowledge with a Pretty Flowerpot
Fairfax County Woman was Role Model for Nurses in early 1900s
Home Schooling – 1820s Style
Fairfax County Woman was Role Model for Nurses in early 1900s
Fairfax County Woman was Role Model for Nurses in early 1900s
The Coat Off His Back
The Coat Off His Back
Serve a Slice of History
Serve a Slice of History
A Light in Dark Places
A Light in Dark Places
Old-Fashioned Ballot Box Reflects How Times Have Changed on Election Day
Old-Fashioned Ballot Box Reflects How Times Have Changed on Election Day
Someone Lost Their Marbles, Literally!
Someone Lost Their Marbles, Literally!
Photo or Drawing
Is It a Photo or Drawing?
We Found It! We Found…Clorox!
We Found It! We Found…Clorox!
Tracing the Origins of Silhouettes
Tracing the Origins of Silhouettes
Projectile Point Points to Ancient History of Mount Air
Projectile Point Points to Ancient History of Mount Air
Entertaining with Japanese Imari Ware
Entertaining with Japanese Imari Ware
Putting the Pieces Back Together
Putting the Pieces Back Together
The Curious Tales of a Jacket with No Tail
The Curious Tales of a Jacket with No Tail
Orange and Alexandria Railroad
Orange and Alexandria Railroad
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Cookie Cutters Offer a Taste of History
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Raise a Glass to “Air-Twist” Glass Stems
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
History Served Up at Great Falls Grange
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Decoration or Symbol of Resistance?
Fans Serve Double Duty for Cooling and Advertising
Fans Serve Double Duty for Cooling and Advertising
More Than Meets the Eye: The Rigg-Buckley House
More Than Meets the Eye: The Rigg-Buckley House
A 3D Experience from the Past
A 3D Experience from the Past
Turning the Dirt
Turning the Dirt
Before the Era of Prom-posals, there were Dance Cards
Before the Era of Prom-posals, there were Dance Cards
More Than Just a Pretty Face
More Than Just a Pretty Face
A Wintery Look at Historic Green Spring
A Wintery Look at Historic Green Spring
Mystery Metal Pieces Keep Archaeologists Guessing
Mystery Metal Pieces Keep Archaeologists Guessing
A Christmas Day Wedding Gift that Gives a History Lesson
A Christmas Day Wedding Gift that Gives a History Lesson
Poking into History with Straight Pins
Poking into History with Straight Pins
A Summer Wedding for Clark House's First Residents
A Summer Wedding for Clark House's First Residents
Innovative American Art Form Made Art more Affordable
A Thimble Sheds Light on the Lives of Women in History
Innovative American Art Form Made Art more Affordable
Innovative American Art Form Made Art more Affordable
Newspaper Discovery Shines Light on Suffragette Movement
Newspaper Discovery Shines Light on Suffragette Movement
Ellanor C. Lawrence Time Capsule
The Ellanor C. Lawrence Park Time Capsule
Dried Sediment Ready to be Examined
Glass Beads Provide Connection to Our Past
Frying Pan Meeting House Bible
Meeting House Bible
Tin Glaze Ceramics
Tin Glaze Ceramics
Lincoln Portrait
Lincoln Portraits Enjoyed Popularity in America’s Past
Staffordshire Slipware
The Origin of Staffordshire Slipware
Christmas Quilt
Christmas Quilt has Ties to Dranesville Tavern
Violin
Milling and Music in Fairfax County History
Hand-Wrought Nails
Hand-Wrought Nails in Early America
Family Gazette
Newspaper Provides Insight into Past Residents of Green Spring
Stoneware
Stoneware Offers Insights to Time Periods and Activities
Sully Car
Photo Prompts Cruise Down Memory Lane
Gun Flint
Gun Flint
Buttons
Buttons Attach us to History
Church Pew
Church Pew Offers Lesson on County’s Cultural and Racial History
Tobacco Pipe
White Clay Tobacco Pipe
Agate
An Agate & The Grange
Glass Fragments
Glass Fragments Provide a Window into the Past
Child’s Tea Set
A Child’s Tea Set
Colonial Hinge
Hand-wrought Colonial Hinge
Commencement Invitation
Floris Vocational High School Commencement Invitation
Colonial Padlock
Colonial Padlock
Silk Top Hat
Silk Top Hat
Tobacco Promotional Pipe
Lorillard’s Tobacco Promotional Pipe
Long-distance Education before the Internet
Long-distance Education before the Internet
Fire Screens
The Purpose of Fire Screens
Broken Glass
More Than Broken Glass
Sully Mirror
Reflections of History
Cryptic Note
Mysterious Object, Cryptic Note
Tobacco Pipe
Sully Tall Clock

 

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