Oh, sister! Philly takes a new nickname

Philadelphia loves history. After all, sites such as the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, part of Independence National Historical Park, showcase the rise of our nation. The so-called City of Brotherly Love is now calling attention to another important historical event: the 100-year anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which gave women the right to vote. To mark the occasion, the city is temporarily changing its nickname to the City of Sisterly Love through 2020. On Aug. 26, the Justice Bell, cast in 1915, will ring out as part of a monthslong commemoration in the city. Suffragists toted the bell around Pennsylvania and to U.S. cities with its clapper tied, signifying the silencing of women. It rang for the first time at a celebration in 1920 at Philadelphia’s Independence Square.

Kerri Westenberg

At AAA, a stronger diamond

AAA has overhauled its acclaimed Diamond Program by replacing ratings with designations. Hotels and restaurants seeking the prestigious Diamond designation will need to be analyzed by professionally trained inspectors using member-driven criteria. One and Two Diamond hotels and restaurants will transition to the Approved designation, and Three, Four and Five Diamond establishments will retain their designations. AAA said the 2020 inspections would be the determining factor for all future designations. “Unlike ratings from unknown users sharing their opinions, the Diamond designations are provided by experienced professionals using consistent guidelines to tell travelers what a property offers,” AAA Travel executive director Stacey Barber said in a statement. As part of the overhauled Diamond Program, AAA has removed outdated criteria in favor of factors that more directly relate to guest comfort, design and layout. The program consists of nearly 60,000 properties in North America.


Art conservation in Chicago

A time-honored practice has surprisingly gained traction in the museum world: conservation, or art restoration, done in the public eye. At the Conservation Center in Chicago’s West Town, 40 expert conservators work on everything from paintings and paper to furniture. The Conservation Center welcomes groups large and small for free tours, and request that appointments be made in advance; the tour will likely take your interests into account. Works change regularly, and can range from ancient masterpieces to family heirlooms. “Every time you come to visit the facility, you’ll see something completely different,” says Heather Becker, the center’s chief executive (theconservationcenter.com).

New York Times

New warning about Spain

The U.S. Embassy in Madrid has warned Americans visiting Spain to take extra precautions because of “a steady increase in the number of sexual assaults” over the past five years in the country. Embassy officials said they were unaware of any similar alerts for a European nation. The security alert, issued Monday, came as Spanish authorities are investigating the rape accusation filed by three American sisters against Afghan men over events on New Year’s Eve in southeastern Spain. It also warned of the challenges that those who experience sexual assault face when seeking justice in the Spanish legal system. The embassy said it was responding to an increase in sex assaults “against young U.S. citizen visitors and students throughout Spain.”

New York Times