The Franklin Insti­tute Sci­ence Muse­um is one of the old­est sci­ence and tech­nol­o­gy muse­ums in North Amer­i­ca. It is oper­at­ed by the Franklin Insti­tute, a cen­ter for inno­va­tion in the study of the nat­ur­al sci­ences, and pro­motes dis­cov­ery and learn­ing through hands-on exhi­bi­tions.

franklin institute science museum

Entry relat­ed to loca­tion: Philadel­phia

Museum in honor of Benjamin Franklin

The Franklin Insti­tute Sci­ence Muse­um was found­ed in 1824 as the Franklin Insti­tute to pro­mote Mechan­i­cal Art. It was locat­ed in a build­ing on 7th Street, which is now the Philadel­phia Muse­um of His­to­ry. The muse­um out­grew its orig­i­nal loca­tion and moved into its cur­rent home in Logan Square in the 1930s, a mon­u­men­tal neo­clas­si­cal build­ing designed by local archi­tect John T. Win­drim.

franklin statue

The muse­um is named after Ben­jamin Franklin (1706–1790), Philadel­phi­a’s most famous cit­i­zen. Franklin was one of the Found­ing Fathers of the Unit­ed States. But he was more than just a states­man: he was also a print­er, writer, post­mas­ter, diplo­mat, inven­tor and sci­en­tist. As a sci­en­tist, he is best known for his pio­neer­ing work in the field of elec­tric­i­ty.

franklin institute in philadelphia

The entrance to the muse­um is through the build­ing’s most impres­sive hall: the Rotun­da, which was mod­eled after the Pan­theon in Rome. The Rotun­da is open to the pub­lic (no tick­et required) and is home to the Ben­jamin Franklin Nation­al Memo­r­i­al, a giant mar­ble stat­ue of Ben­jamin Franklin. The stat­ue was made in 1911 by James Earl Fras­er James. The dimen­sions are real­ly impres­sive: the stat­ue has a height of 6 meters and weighs 27 tons. In 1972, the stat­ue was des­ig­nat­ed the offi­cial nation­al mon­u­ment to Ben­jamin Franklin.

See also
Museum of Natural History in Berlin

See also: Lib­er­ty Place sky­scraper in Philadel­phia

Exhibits and exhibitions

Back in the 1930s, the Franklin Insti­tute intro­duced hands-on sci­ence exhibits, and today’s muse­um con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion with many inter­ac­tive exhibits that invite vis­i­tors to fol­low in Ben­jamin Franklin’s foot­steps — to exper­i­ment and explore. The per­ma­nent exhibits are locat­ed on two floors and are the­mat­i­cal­ly orga­nized.

franklin museum exhibitions

On the same floor as the rotun­da is the “Elec­tric­i­ty” exhi­bi­tion, which allows vis­i­tors to exper­i­ment with elec­tric­i­ty. You can become a con­duc­tor and see how elec­tric­i­ty is gen­er­at­ed. Chil­dren can walk inside a giant heart, the dimen­sions of which cor­re­spond to the heart of a per­son 67 meters high.

museum columns
The exhi­bi­tion “Amaz­ing Machines” shows the inner work­ings of house­hold machines such as a drill. In the muse­um’s avi­a­tion depart­ment, you can learn about the prin­ci­ples of aero­nau­tics, look at mod­els, and test your pilot­ing skills in a flight sim­u­la­tor.

locomotive in the museum

You can climb the pen­du­lum stair­case, which is named after the Fou­cault pen­du­lum, which is sus­pend­ed here and demon­strates the rota­tion of the earth. On the low­er floor is the Rail­road Works, where you can see the mas­sive Bald­win 60000 loco­mo­tive built in 1926 in Penn­syl­va­nia as an exper­i­men­tal train.

Inter­est­ing arti­cle: The fastest trains in the world

foucault pendulum

The space hall where you can learn about the moon show­cas­es a real moon rock and you can even touch a mete­orite. The muse­um also hous­es the Fels Plan­e­tar­i­um, one of the old­est plan­e­tar­i­ums in the US, as well as an IMAX the­ater and the Franklin The­ater, where 3D pro­jec­tions can be seen.

See also
Australian Museum Sydney

To con­tin­ue, vis­it the arti­cle about the Wall Cen­ter Sky­scraper Com­plex in Van­cou­ver.