Virtual Talk: American Sheet Music at the British Library

Although once disregarded by historians as sentimental and ephemeral, today American sheet music is valued for the unique light it sheds upon the nation’s concerns and aspirations. In this talk, Eccles Centre for American Studies librarian Jean Petrovic will share items held at the British Library. She will consider how this music moved ‘from the sacred to the secular and from the timeless to the timely’ and will explore how songs associated with World War I and the movement for female suffrage captured, reflected – and possibly even shaped – the cultural and political zeitgeist.

Image: Marie Zimmerman, Votes for Women. Suffrage Rallying Song. Philadelphia: E.M. Zimmerman, 1915. British Library shelfmark: H.3992.r.(18)

Virtual Talk: Benjamin Franklin and Black Lives Matter

Benjamin Franklin was born at a time when the abhorrent practice of slaveholding was common.  He was initially accepting of owning slaves, and came to London with two black servants, Peter and King, who became free on arrival in Britain.  His years on Craven Street led to a fundamental transformation. House Director, Dr. Márcia Balisciano, will explain how Franklin became the American founder who campaigned against slavery, spending his last days as the President of the Pennsylvania Society for Promoting the Abolition of Slavery.

This event was free to attend but we would ask attendees to consider making a voluntary donation here to support Benjamin Franklin House continue to share Franklin’s story as we begin to reopen to the public.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here:

American Independence Day Tours

Join us for a special reopening celebration of Independence Day at Benjamin Franklin House and enjoy a tour of the world’s only remaining Franklin home!

As a founder of the United States, Franklin was the only statesman to have signed all four documents that created a new nation, including The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and The Constitution. The first of these was signed on 4 July 1776.

Buy your tickets here.

Tours times are:

Saturday July 4th: 2pm and 3pm

Sunday July 5th: 2pm and 3pm

To ensure we keep everyone safe:

  • We are limiting group sizes to 4 people from separate households. If your group has more than 4 people from your household, please contact us at info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org or +44 207 839 2006 to arrange your booking
  • All staff and visitors (excluding those exempt under current UK government guidance) will be required to wear a mask inside the House – on entry, visitors will find a station with hand sanitiser, masks, and gloves
  • Our staff will be regularly cleaning the public areas throughout the days we are open to the public to ensure a safe environment

We look forward to welcoming you again to Benjamin Franklin’s only surviving home in fulfilment of our mission to bring history and innovation to life!

Benjamin Franklin House Team

We’ve Reopened!

We are excited to announce that following new UK government guidelines on museums and galleries, Benjamin Franklin House will be reopening to the public.

In celebration of American Independence Day, we will offer Architectural Tours from 2-4pm on and 5 July.  Please make a booking for this special celebration here.

Following, we will be open Friday-Sunday12-5 for Architectural Tours from Friday, 10 July.  We hope to begin running our primary offering, the Historical Experience, before the close of summer.

Please make a booking for Architectural Tours here.

Changes to ensure the safety of visitors and staff

To ensure we keep everyone safe:

  • We are limiting group sizes to 4 people from separate households. If your group has more than 4 people from your household, please contact us at info@benjaminfranklinhouse.org or +44 207 839 2006 to arrange your booking
  • All staff and visitors (excluding those exempt under current UK government guidance) will be required to wear a mask inside the House – on entry, visitors will find a station with hand sanitiser, masks, and gloves
  • Our staff will be regularly cleaning the public areas throughout the days we are open to the public to ensure a safe environment

We look forward to welcoming you again to Benjamin Franklin’s only surviving home in fulfilment of our mission to bring history and innovation to life!

Benjamin Franklin House Team

Virtual Talk – True Grid: François-Marc-Louis Naville and his moral tables

“The days flow by. I feel myself dragged about by time as if by a torrent. A decrease in energy and health, though possibly only temporary, makes me nevertheless fear for an early death. I feel deeply that there is nothing more to be desired than what pertains to eternity, that I should not waste a moment of time, that I should hurry to fulfill at least part of my task.”

Harro Maas, professor in history and methodology of economics at the Centre Walras-Pareto for the history of economic and political thought at the University of Lausanne,  will use these words from the diary of François-Marc-Louis Naville, a turn-of-the nineteenth-century Genevese pastor and pedagogical innovator, as a cue to examine his use of Benjamin Franklin’s tools of moral calculation and a lesser known tool, Marc-Antoine Jullien’s moral thermometer, to improve his moral character. He will situate Naville’s use of these tools within the Swiss pedagogical reform movement of Pestalozzi and others in the early nineteenth century and will examine in detail how Naville used and adapted Franklin and Jullien’s tools of moral accounting for his own moral and religious purposes. We will see that God’s most precious gift to man, Time, provided Naville the ultimate measure of his moral worth.

Watch the full talk and Q&A here:

Virtual Talk: Fuelling Democracy – Ben Franklin and Coffee Houses

Join us for a talk on how Benjamin Franklin used the stimulating environment of coffee houses to help shape his early political ideals by our Operations Manager, Caitlin Hoffman. These public and social establishments were centres of the 18th century Enlightenment and provided a foundation of early American politics.

Virtual Talk: The Rise of the Private Banker in Franklin’s London

Dr Perry Gauci, Tutor in Modern History at Lincoln College, Oxford University, will speak on the development of the banking profession in mid-Georgian London. In common with many of his fellow London residents, Franklin benefited from the increasing availability of specialist banking services, and this talk will examine the social and cultural impact of the private bankers, several of whom were located close to Craven Street. Both in their business and their sociability, the bankers were a dynamic force, and acted as key intermediaries within metropolitan society.

Image: Ben Franklin’s Wallet on display at Benjamin Franklin House

Full talk and Q&A below:

Virtual Talk: The value of being luckily wrong

There is only so much we understand. There is only so much we make sense of in advance. Are we spending too much time trying to be right, and too little time simply maximising our chances of getting lucky?

Join Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK and Board Member of Benjamin Franklin House, for this fascinating talk.

Watch the full talk and Q&A below:

Live Science Class: Ben Franklin’s Long Arm

Join our series of weekly virtual classes to learn how Ben Franklin’s inventions and scientific discoveries illuminate the national curriculum! You can recreate all the featured science demonstrations at home using household materials.

Have you heard of Ben Franklin’s long arm? He used this invention to reach books on high shelves. Learn how Ben drew on his knowledge of forces to invent this handy device and create your own to use at home!

Activity Materials: cardboard, 4 split pins, 1 rubber band, string, scissors, tape, ruler, pencil

Links to the Science Curriculum:

KS2: Forces (Y3, Y5)

KS3: Forces

Most Suitable for KS2 and KS3 (Grades 2-8) but all ages welcome!

If you have any questions, please contact education@benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Watch the full class and demonstration:

How to make a long arm:

Live Science Class: Ben Franklin and Storm Clouds

Join our series of weekly virtual classes to learn how Ben Franklin’s inventions and scientific discoveries illuminate the national curriculum! You can recreate all the featured science demonstrations at home using household materials.

One evening in 1743, storm clouds blocked Ben Franklin’s view of a lunar eclipse. This led him to find out more about how they move across the sky. Learn how storms work and the role they play in the water cycle before making your own rainstorm in a jar!

Activity Materials: 1 glass jar (e.g. empty jam jar), 1 jug of water, shaving foam, blue food colouring, pipette (optional)

Links to the Science Curriculum:

KS2: States of Matter (Y4, Y5)

KS3: Matter – Physical Changes

Most Suitable for KS2 and KS3 (US Grades 2-8) but all ages welcome!

If you have any questions, please contact education@benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Watch the full class and demonstration: