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Canada: Hold the phone! A touch tour of Alexander Graham Bell artifacts

Imagine getting to hold priceless artifacts in your hands. Beginning May 19, you can, by taking Parks Canada’s White Glove Tour at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

During this special half-hour tour at the historic site, a guide will take two to six people into the artifact storage room, where they will don white gloves to examine some of Bell’s personal artifacts, including his handwritten notebooks, one of his walking sticks, clothing and letters exchanged with his wife, Mabel.

Bell invented far more than the telephone; he employed his genius in areas as diverse as medicine, aeronautics and genetics.

“He always carried around a notebook, in which he wrote new ideas, grocery lists, news articles, stories, sketches and other notations,” said Jennifer Burnell, a representative of Parks Canada, said by email.

Bell was born in Scotland in 1847 and died in Nova Scotia in 1922. He devoted large parts of his life to research to help hearing-impaired individuals (his wife had been deaf since childhood). Besides the telephone, he also experimented with the telegraph and sound recording.

Guests may also see objects related to various types of experiments with water distillation, kites, hydrofoils and aviation -- including blueprints of the Silver Dart, which powered the first flight in Canada in 1909.

“The artifacts do change from time to time, both to protect the condition of artifacts, but also to give visitors the opportunity to see different items if they return for another tour,” Burnell said.

When: May 19-Oct. 19.  See the website for park hours of operation.

Cost: Regular admission plus $6.62 for the White Glove Tour.  Adult admission is about $7. Reservations are only necessary for groups.

Info: Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, 559 Chebucto Street, Baddeck, Nova Scotia.

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