The restored First Baptist Church Freedom Bell. (Credit: Colonial Williamsburg)
The restored First Baptist Church Freedom Bell. (Credit: Colonial Williamsburg) Pictured are Conservators Christine (Tina) Gessler, David Blanchfield, and intern Laurie King.

A historic church bell from Virginia, donated as a symbol of freedom, will ring in the nation’s capital Saturday, heralding the opening of the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History and Culture.

The restored bell, nicknamed the “Freedom Bell,” was installed in the 1880s at the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg. It was transported to D.C. earlier this week, where, in lieu of a traditional ribbon-cutting, President Barack Obama will ring it during the museum’s dedication ceremonies on the National Mall.

The First Baptist Church, believed to be the first African-American Baptist church in the United States, was founded in 1776, the same year America declared its independence.

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