The exhibit shows how Franklin's astonishing achievements stemmed from his life-long desire to understand and improve the world around him.
1706–1723 explores Franklin's upbringing in early 18th-century Boston, where he was steeped in Puritan teachings and received his training as a printer.
B. Franklin Printer
1723–1748 covers the years when Franklin made his fortune as Philadelphia's premiere printer, and juxtaposes period printing equipment with hands-on activities and multi-media experiences.
1731–1751 tells the story of Franklin's involvement with the founding of several key philanthropic, educational and civic institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Hospital as well as the nation’s first volunteer fire department, lending library and postal system.
1747–1785 shows scientific instruments of Franklin's time, including a hands-on "Electricity Party" area, developed by the Bakken Museum in Minneapolis..
1744–1787 spans Franklin's political career, beginning in colonial Pennsylvania, proceeding to his years in England and France, and concluding with his triumphant return in 1785 to serve in the Constitutional Convention.
1787–Today considers Franklin's legacy, with original versions of several early translations of his "Autobiography," portraits and images of Franklin and quotations from those influenced by him.
*Photos courtesy of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, photography by Graydon Wood