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Philadelphia

Franklin Institute

The Franklin Institute is a museum in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States, dating to 1824. The Institute also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.

Permanent Exhibits :
  • Electricity, which replaced Franklin...He's Electric in 2010, showcases Franklin's discovery of electricity and its use in the modern world, including elements such as a sustainable dance floor, and an array of LEDs that turn on in the presence of cell phone signals and other low-power electrical signals. (Electricity and Technology)
  • Changing Earth, which opened to the public, along with Electricity, on March 27, 2010, focuses on the powerful forces of air, water, and land and their effect upon the earth, as well as how humans respond to and interact with these forces.
  • 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 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. 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 located on the grounds.

Traveling Exhibits :
In the past, the Science Center has hosted many traveling exhibits including Storms, Titanic, 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 Angeles, CA, and went to Fort Lauderdale, FL, and Chicago, IL, before coming to Philadelphia for its final American appearance. When the exhibit left Philadelphia on September 30, 2007, it traveled to London, England. 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 Kings. The show also featured a CAT Scan that revealed what the Boy King may have looked like.
 
The Franklin Institute is a member of the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) and the American Association of Museums (AAM). The Franklin Institute is also a member of the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative with the following partners: the Fort Worth Museum of Science & History; the Museum of Science, Boston; COSI Columbus, formerly known as the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio; OMSI in Portland, Oregon; the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul, Minnesota; and the California Science Center, formerly the California Museum of Science & Industry, in Los Angeles, California.