Visit to Independence Hall, Buena Park

On February 24, 2020, IPPAM Advisor, Mr. Larry Williams, led IPPAM students on a tour to the Independence Hall replica in Buena Park, CA.

By Tolkyn Takishova

An Аsian proverb says that “it is better to see something once, than to hear about it a thousand times”. This was actually a case in our class in Government administration, when after spending some time on understanding the American history at the time of declaring its independence in 1776, we were offered a trip to the Independence Hall in Buena Park, California.

It was a sunny and warm day in February when we, 2 visiting scholars from Kazakhstan, joined by the group of IPPAM students and our course instructor, Larry Williams, all arrived to Knott’s Independence Hall.

Knott’s Independence Hall is an exact, brick-by-brick replica of the original in Philadelphia. On July 4, 1966, exactly 190 years after the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia – Walter Knott, at age 75, held the opening ceremony of the Independence Hall in Buena Park.

While we were walking around the hall, Larry Williams gave us the background information about Knott’s family and why Walter decided to build it. Driven by the pride and patriotism, Walter Knott decided to dedicate funds and efforts to replicate the country’s most historical as well as the most beautiful and stately structures. Moreover Walter Knott wished to remain this place a free-admission facility, so everyone could afford and enjoy the visit.

Once we entered the hall the first stop was the Liberty Bell on the ground floor of the tower, the same spot as the real Liberty Bell in Philadelphia before 1976. Then came the highlight of the tour – the Declaration Chamber – with an audio presentation of the founding fathers debating independence from Britain. The audio presentation is still surprisingly effective, despite being low tech. This audio session takes place in the dark: quills in inkwells on various desks light up as representatives from American colonies who were at those desks debate whether to declare independence.  The session, which is better described as a show, was truly magnificent as it gives you an impression of you being back in times.

The tour was not quite long and lasted around 1,5 hours, but it is definitely worth visiting. The place is not only for those who is interested in the history of USA , but for everyone who wants to get a bit close to the culture of the great American nation

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