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The Franklin Institute
Front steps as seen from the adjacent Moore College


The Franklin Institute (named after the noted American scientist and statesman Benjamin Franklin) is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvaniamarker, and one of the oldest and premier centers of science education and development in the United Statesmarker. The Institute itself comprises three centers — The Science Center, The Franklin Center, and The Center for Innovation in Science Learning. It also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorialmarker.

History

On February 5, 1824, Samuel Vaughn Merrick and William H. Keating founded The Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania for the Promotion of the Mechanic Arts. The museum began in 1825 in its original building at 15 South 7th Street (now the site of the Atwater Kent Museummarker) and moved into its current home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkwaymarker, near that parkway's intersection with 20th Street, over 100 years later, in 1934. Funds to build the new Institute and Memorial on the Parkway came from the Poor Richard Club, the City Board of Trust, the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, Inc., and The Franklin Institute. John T. Windrim's original design was a completely square building surrounding the Benjamin Franklin Statue, which had yet to be built. Despite the effects of the Great Depression, the Benjamin Franklin Memorial, Inc. raised $5 million between December 1929 and June 1930. Only two of the four wings envisioned by Windrim were built.

Over the years of its existence, many famous scientists have demonstrated groundbreaking new technology at the Franklin Institute. Nikola Tesla demonstrated the principle of wireless telegraphy at the institute in 1893. Later, on August 25, 1934, Philo Taylor Farnsworth gave the world's first public demonstration of an all-electronic television system. The Franklin Institute was integrated in 1870, when Philadelphia teacher and activist Octavius Catto was admitted as a member.

On March 31, 1940, press agent William Castellini issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day. The story was picked up by KYWmarker, which reported, "Your worst fears that the world will end are confirmed by astronomers of Franklin Institute, Philadelphia. Scientists predict that the world will end at 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time tomorrow. This is no April Fool joke. Confirmation can be obtained from Wagner Schlesinger, director of the Fels Planetarium of this city." This caused a panic in the city which only subsided when the Franklin Institute assured people it had made no such prediction. Castellini was dismissed shortly thereafter.

Succession of presidents

  • James Ronaldson (1824 - 1852)
  • Samuel V. Merrick (1852 - 1854)
  • John C. Cresson (1855 - 1863)
  • William Sellers (1864 - 1867)
  • John Vaughan Merrick (1868 - 1869)
  • Coleman Sellers (1870 - 1875)
  • Robert Empie Rogers (1875 - 1879)
  • William Penn Tatham (1880 - 1886)
  • Joseph Miller Wilson (1887 - 1893)
  • Dr. Walton Clark (1907 - 1924)
  • Dr. W. Laurence LePage
  • Dr. Bowen C. Dees
  • Dr. Athelstan F. Spilhaus (1966 - 1969)
  • Dr. Joel N. Bloom (1969 - 1990)
  • Dr. Dennis M. Wint (1995 - present)


The Science Center

The most recognizable part of The Franklin Institute's Science Center is The Franklin Institute Science Museum. In the spirit of inquiry and discovery embodied by Benjamin Franklin, the mission of The Franklin Institute Science Museum serves to inspire an understanding of and passion for science and technology learning. Among other exhibits, The Science Museum holds the largest collection of artifacts from the Wright brothers' workshop.

Permanent exhibits

The newly refurbished Giant Heart


  • Franklin...He's Electric is a hands-on exhibit that showcases Franklin's scientific genius as well as object of historical significance, like Franklin's lightning rod. (Electricity and Technology); however, as of 2009 it is under renovation.
  • The Franklin Airshow features The Wright Brothers Aeronautical Engineering Collection, their newly restored Model B Flyer, and a U.S. Air Force 1948 T-33 Shooting Star Jet Trainer. (Aviation and Technology)
  • The Giant Heart has been a Philadelphia icon since its opening in 1954. (Biology, Chemistry and Anatomy)
  • The Joel N. Bloom Observatory, remodeled in 2006, features five telescopes, including a giant 10" Zeiss Refractor and four 8" Meade Reflectors.
  • The Sports Challenge is an interactive exhibit that shows the science behind sports. (Physics and Technology)
  • The Train Factory has a real, moving train: The Baldwin 60000 steam locomotive. (History, Engineering and Technology)
  • Sir Isaac's Loft, allows visitors to blend art and science into their own masterpiece. (Physics and Art)
  • Space Command features real space suits and allows visitors to track their houses, in real time, via satellite. (Astronomy, Technology and Mathematics)
  • The Franklin Institute once featured the Foxtrot Papa Boeing 707 as a permanent exhibit. This partial fuselage could easily be seen from the outside of the building and was a remarkable sight in the middle of a major city. But in the 1980s, the aircraft was sold for scrap, much to the dismay of aviation enthusiasts.
  • Amazing Machine, the Museum's newest permanent exhibit, allows visitors to experience a machine-like environment featuring little-seen pieces from The Franklin Institute's priceless collection, including Maillardet's Automaton, believed to have the largest cam-based memory of any automaton of the era.


Other attractions



The Science Center includes many pertinent attractions that are not museum exhibits. The Budd BB-1 Pioneer, in front of the museum, was the first stainless steel airplane built by the Edward F. Budd Manufacturing Corporation and has been on display since 1935. [31873]

Science Park is a park, located in the backyard of The Franklin Institute which is generally open May through September. It is a permanent outdoor exhibit where children can learn about science by playing miniature golf, swinging on a swing set, and testing out many more devices designed to get kids excited about learning. The park also contains sundials, sand pendulums, hide-and-seek tunnels, and mini-periscopes. A model which would eventually become the Lunar Module in the Apollo space program, first shown on display in the 1966–67 World's Fair, held in the New York Hall of Science, is also in Science Park.

Theaters

In 1933, Samuel S. Fels contributed funds to build The Fels Planetarium, only the second in the United States after Chicagomarker's Adler Planetariummarker. The Planetarium's new design 2002 renovations include replacement of the original 40,000-pound stainless steel dome, originally built in 1933. The new premium dome is lighter and is in diameter. It is the first of its kind in the United States. The planetarium is also outfitted for visitors who are hearing impaired.

The Tuttleman IMAX Theater is an IMAX dome theater that is 180° encompassing and tilted at 30 degrees. The seating places the audience up in the dome which is over across and 4.5 stories tall. In addition, the theater has 20,000 watts of amplifier power and over 50 speakers.

Early in 2008, extensive renovation of the museum's auditorium was completed. Previously a lecture hall, the space was re-named Franklin Theater, and features 3-D and hi-def Blu-Ray digital projection capabilities. The Franklin Theater’s core mission is to showcase educational films during daytime hours while also including mass release feature length films.

Traveling exhibits

During the King Tut Exhibit, the front steps are decorated with an image of King Tut's face.
In the past, the Science Center has hosted many traveling exhibits including Storms, The Titanicmarker, Grossology, Body Worlds, Darwin, and Robots. In the summer of 2007, The Franklin Institute hosted Tutankhamun And The Golden Age of The Pharaohs, in the Mandell Center of The Franklin Institute Science Museum. The exhibit began its United States Tour in Los Angelesmarker, CAmarker, and went to Fort Lauderdalemarker, FLmarker, and Chicagomarker, ILmarker, before coming to Philadelphiamarker for its final American appearance. When the exhibit left Philadelphia on September 30, 2007, it traveled to Londonmarker, Englandmarker.This exhibit was nearly twice the size of the original Tutankhamun exhibit of the 1970s, and contained 50 objects directly from Tut's tomb, as well as nearly 70 object from the tombs of his ancestors in The Valley of the Kingsmarker. The show also featured a CAT Scan that revealed what the Boy King may have looked like.

The Franklin Institute recently had three traveling exhibits open to the public:Galileo: The Medici & The Age of Astronomy, Star Trek: The Exhibition, and RACE: Are We So Different? The Galileo Exhibit was especially noteworthy as The Franklin Institute earned the title as the only museum outside of Italy to ever exhibit Galileo's telescope.

Currently, The Franklin Institute is exhibiting Dr. Gunther von Hagens: BODY WORLDS 2 & the Brain. The exhibit features human specimens preserved through Dr. Gunther von Hagens' process of plastination with a special emphasis on the brain.

The Franklin Institute is a member of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative with the following partners: the Fort Worthmarker Museum of Science & History; the Museum of Science, Bostonmarker; COSI Columbusmarker, formerly known as the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohiomarker; OMSImarker in Portland, Oregonmarker; the Science Museum of Minnesotamarker in Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker; and the California Science Center, formerly the California Museum of Science & Industry, in Los Angeles, Californiamarker.

School programs/workshops

Throughout the school year, the Museum Programs Department at the Franklin Institute provides educational experiences for school groups that visit the museum. These educational experiences include an exclusive workshop on various topics, typically relating to the current traveling exhibitions. These workshops help to enhance each student's experience while at the museum.

Homeschooling

The Museum Programs Department also helps to enhance the educational opportunities of home-schooled students by welcoming them to the museum to take part in various activities and experiments.

Camp-In

Camp-In is a sleep-over program that has been in operation for many years. Taking place from October through May, it gives families, scout groups, youth groups, and school groups an opportunity to see the museum at night. Along with sleeping over, campers see an IMAX show, planetarium show, a science demonstration, and take part in several workshop activities. Also, campers have the chance to explore the museum during the evening hours when it is closed to the public.

Discovery Camp

Discovery Camp is a summer-camp program that takes place inside the museum. The camp begins in the middle of June and continues to the end of August divided into 6 themed sessions. This program gives children aged 6–13 the opportunity to visit the museum all week long and receive many exclusive benefits, such as private demonstrations and activities, an IMAX, a planetarium show, field trips, and special 'behind the scenes' access.

Museum floor programs

Various floor programs contribute to a typical visitor's experience at the museum. Throughout the day there are countless public shows, such as the Liquid Air Show or the Space Bootcamp Show, along with many interactive carts, such as Papermaking and Puzzles/Brainteasers. These activities are intended to bring a personal side to the science that the museum tries to convey.

The Franklin Center

The Franklin Center inspires and celebrates the pursuit of excellence in science and technology through the recognition of outstanding achievement. The Institute's rich historical collections and extensive library, as well as its sponsorship of an internationally recognized awards program, allow it to stand out among American Museums.The Franklin Center is responsible for The Journal of The Franklin Institute, The Benjamin Franklin Awards, and The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

Fraser's Franklin Statue


The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial features a high marble statue, sculpted by James Earle Fraser. Originally opened in 1938, the Memorial was designed by architect John T. Windrim and modeled after the Pantheonmarker in Romemarker. The Hall is in length, width, and height. The domed ceiling is self-supporting and weighs 1600 tons. The floors, walls, columns, pilasters, and cornices are made of marbles imported from Portugalmarker, Italymarker, and Francemarker.Congress designated the Hall and statue as the official Benjamin Franklin National Memorial on October 25, 1972. Vice President of the United States Nelson Rockefeller dedicated the memorial in 1976.

The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is the only privately owned National Memorial in the country, and it is maintained by the museum.

On December 30, 2005, Congress authorized the Institute to receive up to $10,000,000 in matching grants for the rehabilitation of the memorial and for the development of related exhibits.
In the fall of 2008, The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial was re-opened after a summer-long restoration that included multi-media enhancements. Philadelphia's most famous citizen is now featured in Benjamin Franklin Forever - an hourly 3 1/2-minute multimedia presentation utilizing the entire rotenda space.

The Journal of The Franklin Institute

In 1826, The Journal of The Franklin Institute was established to publish U.S. Patent information and to document scientific and technological achievements throughout the nation. It is the second oldest continuously published scientific journal in the country, and is now primarily devoted to applied mathematics.

The Benjamin Franklin Awards

Benjamin Franklin Medal
Since 1833 the Franklin Institute has maintained the longest continuously awarded science and technology awards program in the United States, and one of the oldest in the world. The Benjamin Franklin Medal is given to scientists in multiple fields, including Chemistry, Computer and Cognitive Science, Earth Science, Engineering, Life Science, and Physics. The Committee on Science and the Arts determines the winners of the awards. The Benjamin Franklin Medals were instituted in 1998 as a combination of historic endowed awards such as the Elliott Cresson Medal, the Howard N. Potts Medal and the Franklin Medal. Past winners include Henry Ford, Frank Lloyd Wright, Marie Curie, and Thomas Edison.

Additionally, the Bower Award for Business Leadership and the Bower Award and Prize for Achievement in Science have been awarded since 1990. They were made possible by a $7.5 million bequest in 1988 from Henry Bower, a Philadelphia chemical manufacturer. The Bower Science Award carries a cash prize of $250,000, one of the richest science prizes in America.

Awards for 2010:



Awards for 2009:

Franklin Awards Week 2009 took place April 20-April 24, with various special events and conferences planned.

The Center for Innovation in Science Learning

The Center for Innovation in Science Learning has earned the Institute a national reputation for program development in K-12 education and grant-funded research. Areas of special strength are educational technology, school partnerships, and youth leadership. in addition, the Center has built a substantial portfolio of unique online resources of the history of science, including online exhibits on Ben Franklin and the Heart, as well as resources on the Wright Aeronautical Engineering Collection.


Programs

The Science Leadership Academy

Opening its doors in September 2006, The Science Leadership Academymarker is a partnership between The Franklin Institute and The School District of Philadelphia to create a learning environment based on The Institute's philosophy that inquiry is the basis of learning. The Science Leadership Academy provides a rigorous, college-preparatory curriculum with a focus on science, technology, mathematics and entrepreneurship. Students at the SLA learn in a project-based environment where the core values of inquiry, research, collaboration, presentation and reflection are emphasized in all classes.

SLA was named an Apple Distinguished School in 2009 for its innovative 1:1 laptop program; a title which is reserved for schools that have implemented a 21st-century vision of education using Apple technology. The Distinguished School program was begun in 2008, and the Science Leadership Academy is only one of 33 schools in the nation, and the second in Pennsylvania, to receive the award.

Teacher professional development

The Center for Innovation is proud to offer summer institutes and school year mini-courses for K-8 teachers, in collaboration with the School District of Philadelphia and Curriculum & Instruction Office. These programs embody the Center for Innovation's commitment to inquiry science by modeling effective science teaching and learning strategies. Participants raise questions, investigate phenomena, interpret findings, consider real world connections, and reflect on the process.

Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science

Partnerships for Achieving Careers in Technology and Science, or PACTS, is a year-round program of science enrichment, career development, and leadership opportunities for diverse middle- and high-school students in the Philadelphia Region. PACTS students use hands-on science workshops, field based research, field trips, and laboratory experiments to learn how science affects their everyday lives. PACTS is a youth leadership experience designed to involve students as an active part of the daily life of The Franklin Institute. Students who continue the program through high-school emerge with the skills and confidence to be successful college students and productive adults.

Girls at the Center

Girls at the Center is a partnership between The Franklin Institute and the Girl Scouts of the USA provided girls and their families a chance to learn about science together. Over 100 sites participated in the program, with over seventy of the sites still active today. Girls at the Center provided activities for the girls to do with their families at home, as well as projects to be completed on site, all culminating in a year-end party.

See also



References

  1. Top 100 April Fool's Day Hoaxes Of All Time
  2. Mauger, Edward Arthur: Philadelphia Then and Now, page 89. Thunder Bay Press, 2002. ISBN 1-571-45880-8.
  3. Tutankhamun
  4. "Galileo, the Medici and the age of Astronomy"
  5. "STAR TREK: The Exhibition"
  6. "RACE: Are We So Different?"
  7. "BODY WORLDS 2 & the Brain"
  8. The National Parks: Index 2001–2003. Washington: U.S. Department of the Interior.
  9. The Franklin Institute. Awards. About the Awards: History and Facts, Retrieved on July 13, 2009.
  10. Franklin Institute awards page


External links




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