Friends of Benjamin Franklin House

Harnessing Lightning: Education at Benjamin Franklin House

We aim to provide a free weekly student day at Benjamin Franklin House, and extensive outreach services to children and families.

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    Category

  • Education/Training/EmploymentEducation/Training/Employment

    Helping

  • Children (3-18)Children (3-18)
  • Young People (18-30)Young People (18-30)

Location

Situation

To date over 3,000 children have visited our Student Science Centre. It features hands-on experimentation with scientific discoveries from Franklin's London years, juxtaposing past and present knowledge, and inspiring young people, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to think and test in the mode of Franklin. All visits are free of charge. In the Medical History Room children discover the pioneering anatomy work undertaken in the House by Franklin’s friend, William Hewson. In the Discovery Room, children are challenged to identify various objects related to Craven Street science to explain their function and test their guesses. The Demonstration Room features hands-on experiments from Franklin's tenure at Craven Street including canal depths and hydrodynamics; electricity and lightning rod design; and the Franklin developed musical instrument, the glass armonica, for which Mozart and Beethoven composed. Dramatic, interest-catching audio-visual segments exploring ‘what if’ questions, support the presentations and extend the learning. Children also explore the building with Franklin’s beloved Polly, daughter of his landlady, and William Hewson’s wife. With Polly they encounter the history of the building and the people who lived there, and how it relates to things they study at school like health, citizenship and technology. Vibrant outreach to schools and the local community encompasses an annual Benjamin Franklin House Science Day and Science Fair and Ben’s Travelling Suitcase, a valise full of Franklin at Craven Street items our Education Manager takes to schools; family days; and special programmes for Science and Engineering Week, Black History Month, National Storytelling Week, and more. We believe, like Franklin, that scientific discovery should be accessible to all. But to do more – like expand our outreach activities to an even broader audience by holding more programs, developing more educational materials, including a better education section of our website – we require additional funding. Your support would further our efforts to make learning fun, giving young people increased confidence and a better understanding of history and science.

Solution