Did you know that it was Benjamin Franklin’s transatlantic fame as a scientist that gave him the international status and political access to succeed as America’s premier diplomat? A new exhibition organized in honor of Franklin’s 300th birthday offers insights into this founding father’s life and work.
America will celebrate Franklin’s birthday with an international traveling exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, which examines his contributions in the fields of science, printing, community action, politics, and pop culture. The exhibition presents more than 250 original Franklin artifacts and more than 40 interactive devices, designed in the spirit of Franklin’s curiosity, wit, and wisdom.
The exhibition was organized by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, which is comprised of several cultural institutions with ties to Benjamin Franklin: the American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Philadelphia. The exhibition will be displayed at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia from now until April 2006.
Don’t live near Philadelphia? Check out the list of tour locations and dates at www.benfranklin300.com/index.php to see if the exhibit will travel to your area.
In addition to the exhibition, the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary has created educational programming that can be used throughout the year to salute Franklin. Visit the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary website (www.benfranklin300.com/education.htm) to download educational materials for three grade levels, as well as other essential Franklin resources. The lessons, many of which are interdisciplinary, detail which Standards they meet. The “Ben Across the Curriculum” section (www.benfranklin300.com/curriculum.htm) has several science lessons, including Guess What Benjamin Franklin Did! (grades K–2); Science Pen Pals (grades 3–5); Let’s Throw an Electric Science Party! and Simple Machines, Ben Franklin, and the Technology of the 1700s (grades 6–8); and Designing Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World (grades 9–12).
Philadelphia, a city that is rich with Franklin’s legacy, will celebrate his 300th birthday over a five-day period (January 13–17) and with events throughout 2006. For more information, visit www.gophila.com/ben.