Phily Trip Day 6 – Franklin Institute

June 6, 2008

Greetings one and all,

First of all, I will post answers to the questions I’ve asked in my earliers blogs…just not yet. It’s a ploy to get readers to return because they feel they lack closure in their lives without the answers. 🙂  (just kidding).

I spent today at the Franklin Institute.

The picture below is looking east from the front steps. As an aside, Nicolas Cage in National Treasure probably stood on these same steps while filming and gazed out upon the city park across the way.

Here’s the Benjamin Franklin Memorial statue. Pretty impressive.

The Franklin Institute opened in 1934, but the statue wasn’t completed until 1938. It’s 22 feet high and the sculptor was James Earl Frasier. He also designed the buffalo on the buffalo head nickel. The room in which Ben sits is a replica of the Rome Parthenon as a symbolic reference to Benjamin Franklin as the world’s greatest enlightenment natural philosopher. Franklin was often referred to as a scientist, but he preferred the term “natural philosopher.”

This next one was really interesting. This plaque was on the stairway railing. I know it’s hard to read, but if you can get through it, it’s really interesting because…

…I looked over the railing and took a picture of the pendulum swinging. First to the north then as it swung back south. You can barely see where the pins have been knocked over. It was around 9:30 a.m.


From here, we went upstairs to the Trustees Board room where we spent a couple of wonderful hours actually touching and holding museum artifacts that belonged to Franklin. We wore the little white gloves like you see in the movies.

This first picture is his silver pitcher. The next two pictures are of the book that made him internationally famous. I actually held it in my hands and read several pages. This book was published in 1751. Imagine that, I held a book that is 257 years old.   


Around 1:30, with classmates, Liz and Del, lI eft the Institute for a leisurely stroll through the neighborhood toward the subway…

The three of us made it to the park across from the Institute and took pictures of the statues of Native Americans in the fountain in the beautiful city park. The statues symbolize the Three Rivers. Kids were playing in the water.

We continued on to the Cathedral of SS. Peter and Paul and crashed a wedding rehearsal. We did wait until they were finished before we took our pictures. 🙂

You may remember from reading previous blogs that I like pipe organs. The ones in this church were beautiful. 

 Continuing on our journey, we found City Hall with what looks to be a minute man as the spire.

It took us nearly two hours to wander five blocks from the Institute and we were apparently living right today because Del received a phone call summoning us back to the Institute to go through the exhibit: Real Pirates. I was in hog heaven there. I can’t begin to do justice to the information about pirates and slave ships in this exhibit. It began with a short movie to set the stage for the walk through of the exhibit. It was all about the ship The Whydah (wee-dah). I could go on for pages about this ship and what happened to it. Suffice it to say that I’ll be looking for books and more information about this one. Sorry, no pictures allowed inside the exhibit.

But, click on this link, Whydah documentary. It’s a six-minute National Geographic clip. Click here, for another Whydah documentary from National Geographic (four minutes). 

With kids so interested in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, this real, historic information might just catch their attention. I could use it in my classroom to prompt research and discussion into the history of pirates along the Atlantic coast and the impact on the shipping industry to the 13 colonies and later. I’ll definitely use it in discussing Hollywood vs. acurate history in film.

Click here, Real Pirates Education Guide, to read the educator’s guide to this exhibit, and here, Whydah at Institute homepage, to read more.

This exhibit made my day. I need to find out when it’s coming to Denver so I can see it again. Whittney, you’d really like it.

Well, no questions tonight. I know you’re sad about that. Tomorrow, I’m off to Monmouth Battle Field and Washington’s Crossing of the Delaware in Washington State Park. It’s supposed to be 100 degrees and high humidity and it’s mostly a walking day. Wish me luck because you know how much I love the heat.

Until the next time…








  1. The story behind the pirate ship story was quite fascinating. Tis hard to imgine that once the man made enough money to marry the farmer’s daughter, the family would welcome him into the family knowing how he had obtained it. Their codes and laws were fasinating and I’m sure appeared to appealing.

  2. Good evening grandma, that is so cool that you got to see that statue of Benjamen Fanklin. That was a awsome picture of that water fall. The silver pitcher is so unique. Grandma to read that you finally got to see those pipe organs you realy wanted to see! Grandpa and I were telliing each other how much we miss you. 😦 my swimming lessons are half over! If we leave the Saturday you get home to take me to W.T. then I will have to wait 4
    or 5 more days to see you. If we leave Sunday then I will get to see you for a few minutes!My mom, my sister and i are counting down the days till we get to see you. My sister wants to see you every day. Cant wait to see where you go tomarow!
    love, Whittney,Brakelle,and Robyne bye

  3. Now you tell us that you’re going to post the answers! I spent like half my morning looking up all those answers. (Just kidding). Sounds like you’re getting to do a lot of cool stuff.

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