Benjamin Franklin's walking stick, his signed copy of the Treaty of Paris, the odometer he invented and pages from his Poor Richard's Almanac are among the items collected for the international traveling exhibition, "Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," which opened at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia on December 15, 2005. The exhibit is now traveling throughout the U.S. and will end in Paris. Update June 2006: Exhibit is now in St. Louis. For more information, visit the Web site of the Missouri History Museum.
Gathered from institutions and private lenders (including many Franklin descendants) from around the world, this unprecedented collection
is valued at $150 million. This exhibit, which makes its international debut in Philadelphia, pairs 250 Franklin artifacts with 40 interactive kiosks and hands-on displays and is intended to introduce the inspirational Franklin to a new generation, as well as paint a new picture for those who thought they knew Franklin well.
"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World," developed by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, will kick-off the city-wide and national Franklin celebrations in 2006. Institutions and organizations throughout the city and region will participate with exhibits, symposia, reading groups, live theatre, concerts, and numerous other programs, all honoring Philadelphia's most famous historic citizen, the first of America's Founding Fathers to turn 300. Through a $1 million grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation (GPTMC) is acting as the Tercentenary's marketing partner.
"Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World" was originally scheduled to be housed at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. To ensure the optimal climate control for the items being lent from 80-plus private and public collections, the host site has been changed to the National Constitution Center in the city's Historic District. The Franklin Institute, the Secretariat for the federal Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission, will serve as key anchor location for many of the Tercentenary's public events in its internationally renowned Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.
Further tour arrangements for the exhibition are in the process of being finalized. Current host cities include Boston, Denver, Atlanta and Paris, and additional venues are being considered. An announcement about the tour schedule will follow shortly.
The private, non-profit Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary is an alliance created in 2000, with generous funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. Tercentenary institutions are: the American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. Its purpose is to mark the three-hundred-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth (1706-2006) with a celebration that will educate the general public about his enduring legacy and inspire renewed appreciation of the values he embodied. In addition, an Act of Congress in 2002 created the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary Commission, a panel of fifteen outstanding Americans chosen to study and recommend programs to celebrate Franklin's 300th birthday. Dr. Rosalind Remer is Executive Director of both agencies, with offices at The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia.
The Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation (GPTMC), Philadelphia's regional tourism marketing agency, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to building the region's economy and positive image through tourism and destination marketing. For more information about travel to Philadelphia, call the new Independence Visitor Center, located in Independence National Historical Park, at (800) 537-7676, or visit www.gophila.com.
Note to Editors: For story angles and photographic images of Philadelphia and its surrounding countryside, visit www.gophila.com/pressroom.