After a six month closure to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community, Bell Homestead National Historic Site happily reopened its doors on September 8, 2020.
Bell Homestead is open for pre-booked tours only. Six one-hour tours will be conducted Tuesday to Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. The museum will be closed between 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. for lunch. In an effort to ensure the safety of staff and visitors, face coverings will be mandatory indoors, but can be taken off while eating. Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of touch-points and high-traffic areas are in place. A maximum of five people will be allowed per tour.
During the closure, Bell Homestead staff worked hard to complete cleaning, repairs and restoration of artifacts in the home and, we can safely say, it’s never looked more beautiful! There’s even another original Bell family artifact that has been given new life. The silver bread plate shown in the photos was donated by Elsie Grosvenor in 1949. When it arrived at the Homestead, most of the silver plating had been removed with polishing over the years – a common occurrence with old silver plate. The white you see in the pattern of the plate in the ‘before’ picture is actually deposits of old silver polish. This piece has never been on display but now, thanks to the amazing resilvering restoration work by J.H. Young’s Jewellers, it is ready to be viewed and admired.
About Bell Homestead National Historic Site
Bell Homestead National Historic Site is the former home of the great inventor, Alexander Graham Bell. It was here on July 26, 1874, where Bell grasped the principle in which his most famous invention, the telephone, would work.
Bell moved to Brantford with his family in August of 1870, when he was just 23 years old. He was very sick and his parents believed he had a lung infection known as Tuberculosis. His brothers had died from the same illness, and the Bells hoped that the clean Canadian air would help to get him well. After just eight months on the farm, Bell, finally healthy again, was offered a teaching job in Boston. He came back to Brantford to spend the summers and holidays with his family at their home on Tutela Heights, and it is here that Bell made his most important discovery. Nearly two years later, in August 1876, Bell made the world’s first successful long-distance telephone call between Brantford and Paris, Ontario. It is for these amazing reasons that Brantford became known as “The Telephone City.”
Between 1881 and 1909, the Bell Homestead, as it would become known, had six other owners. The Homestead was donated in 1909 to the Brantford Parks & Recreation Department, so that it could be opened to the public as a parkland and museum. Today, the Homestead looks very much like it did when the Bells lived here, with their original furniture, belongings, and models of Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephones.
Bell’s father, Melville, and a close friend, Reverend Henderson, started the Bell Telephone Company in Brantford in 1877 and the two men ran the company until 1880. The Henderson home is next door to the Homestead, with the original telephone office and other telephone displays for visitors to see.
Queen Elizabeth II declared the Bell Homestead a Canadian National Historic Site on June 28, 1997.
We encourage you to visit the Brantford home where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and see how the Bell family lived and worked. On this tour, you will learn about how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and see how the telephone has changed since then. For more information about available tours and for admission prices, please visit the website.
Bell Homestead National Historic Site
94 Tutela Heights Rd., Brantford ON N3T 1A1 | 519-756-6220