House Highlights: Summer Break @ Ben’s House

Here are some of the highlights from our incredible summer season of family events at Benjamin Franklin House!

Over the month of August we held a number of events as part of our Summer Break @ Ben’s House programme. We learned all about Benjamin Franklin, 36 Craven Street and Georgian Britain as well as getting creative with lots of arts and crafts activities.

In our first week we recreated Franklin’s famous Key and Kite experiment using a Tesla Coil in our Student Science Centre. We each got an opportunity to create a bolt of electricity using our Windhurst Machine before heading down to Franklin’s Parlour to build some decorative kites!

Our second week focussed on the art of calligraphy and the importance of letters in 18th century communication. We deciphered one of Franklin’s own letters before writing our own using dip pens and ink. The workshop was certainly the messiest of them all with inky fingers all round! We also created our own parchment paper with some good old fashioned tea-staining.

The focus of our third week moved away from Franklin and on to one of our other famous residents, the anatomist William Hewson, who lived in the House from 1770-1774. We learned about the anatomy school once located in the House and examined our collection of bones that were unearthed in our basement. We then became archaeologists for the day and explored our collection of archaeology tools and artefacts. To end the session we built model skeletons before creating our own skeleton diagrams using cotton wool buds and glue!

The final week of Summer Break @ Ben’s House explored the history of portraiture and saw us learn some valuable skills in art history. We deciphered the symbols in several famous portraits from history before examining a collection of Franklin portraits to learn more about the man behind the canvass. We then got our paint pallets out to create portraits of ourselves to take home and frame for all to see!

Children’s Summer Fair 2022

This year, Benjamin Franklin House is collaborating with the William Morris Society and Fulham Palace for an exciting Children’s Summer Fair to end the Summer Holidays!

Join us on Saturday 27th August for an exiting day of family friendly activities.

Get stuck in with the range of activities on offer:

  • The William Morris Society will be getting inspired by our latest exhibition on May Morris by recreating her Orange Tree in 3D form and creating beautiful tissue paper flowers.
  • Benjamin Franklin House will be exploring letters from the past with the chance to write your own 18th century letters using quills, ink and parchment!
  • Fulham Palace will be bringing along some mystery objects from the past. Get curious and guess what they are, who used them, and when and where you think they come from. Complete with a chance to get into costume!

The event will be taking place at The William Morris Society, 26 Upper Mall, London, W6 9TA and is FREE! Although we do request that you book tickets to secure a place as there are limited slots available. You can book your tickets here.

Summer Break @ Ben’s House 2022

This Summer, Benjamin Franklin House is holding an exciting season of family events across the month of August. Join us at 36 Craven Street for a series of fun filled family days that explore the history of one of London’s best hidden gems.

Each event delves into a different aspect of the rich history of the House, from Benjamin Franklin’s experiments with lightning to the art of Georgian portraiture; 18th century letter writing to secret anatomy schools in the basement!

Across August we have four exciting events taking place; you can find out more and book your tickets here;

Each event takes place on Tuesdays & Wednesdays, 10:30m to 12:30pm and are all FREE!

Suitable for KS2 but all ages welcome!

Science on Stage 2022

On Monday 13th June 2022, Benjamin Franklin House joined forces with the Royal Institute of Great Britain (Ri) and National Physical Laboratory (NPL) to deliver one of the most exciting editions of Science on Stage to date!

Science on Stage, held in partnership with The Royal Institution, illuminates the National Curriculum through a variety of activities which demonstrate how the work of Franklin and scientists at the Ri arose from a spirit of awe and curiosity about the world in which they lived. The content is appropriate for upper Key Stage 2 children with the focus on a range of learning styles to enable all children to benefit from the experience.

This year we welcome almost 400 school children and staff from schools across London into the Faraday Theatre at the Ri for an exciting day of demonstrations. The show kicked off with our very own Education Manager, Henry, whose presentation on the true nature of lightning electrified the audience from start to finish. There was a thunderous applause as he lit up the room with our Tesla Coil to give a miniature Ben Franklin a loud zap of lightning!

Our presentation was then followed by two of the Ri’s very own presenters who demonstrated some exhilarating experiments with fire. They created explosions left right and centre as well as a spectrum of brightly coloured flames. Perhaps one of the most memorable moments of the day came when they burned a few too many onion rings in one experiment, which resulted in a bonfire-sized flame erupting toward the ceiling and shattering the glass bowl beneath it!

Following a short break the show was then rounded off with a fantastic demonstration from Andrew Hanson from the NPL who explored all of the fun that can be had with liquid nitrogen. Him and his team shattered flowers, created a bubbling mass of smoke, and revealed some of the most interesting facts about temperatures found across the planet and galaxy.

This is an annual event and following the overwhelming success of the 2022 show, we are already looking forward to 2023. Science on Stage is completely free of charge for all visiting schools, however tickets are limited and given on a first come first serve basis. If you are interested in bringing your pupils to Science on Stage 2023 please contact our Education Manager (education@benjaminfranklinhouse.org) who will be able to add you to our events mailing list so that you don’t miss out on future ticket releases!

Sister Schools 2022 – Looking for classes!

Attention all KS2 and KS3 teachers! We are re-launching our Sister School’s Programme for Autumn 2022 and are looking for classes to participate in this fantastic opportunity!

In collaboration with Paul Revere House in Boston, Massachusetts (USA) the Sister Schools project is a Benjamin Franklin House programme linking schools in the UK with their counterparts in the United States.

Sister Schools allows children to participate in a fun and collaborative curriculum based on the amazing lives of Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere. Themes include our shared heritage, citizenship, and science and innovation.

The programme will last 6-8 weeks, include a free trip to Benjamin Franklin House, a virtual tour of Paul Revere House, school visits from the Education Manager and a Teacher’s Pack including pre-planned session outlines and activities.

We will be launching our new pairings in September 2022 and are on the look out for KS2-3 classes of 30 to participate in the programme. If you are interested in learning more about Sister Schools and would like to view the Teacher’s Pack, please contact our Education Manager (education@benjaminfranklinhouse.org).

 

Outreach: Become an Inventor

In May 2022, our Education Manager travelled to Watling Park Primary School in Edgware (London) to deliver one of our Outreach Programmes to two groups of Year 5 students. In each session, the pupils were asked to follow in Franklin’s footsteps and become inventors!

The classes produced some fantastic ideas, from innovative fashion booths to money guns, translator machines to friction shoes! At the end of each session, the pupils pitched their inventions to the rest of the class for the group to decide on which to invest in.

Our Education Manager has selected his favourites from the two sessions and these can be found in the gallery below!

 

Science on Stage 2021

 

Science on Stage, held in partnership with The Royal Institution, illuminates the National Curriculum through a variety of activities which demonstrate how the work of Franklin and scientists at the Ri arose from a spirit of awe and curiosity about the world in which they lived. The content is appropriate for upper Key Stage 2 children with the focus on a range of learning styles to enable all children to benefit from the experience.

You can watch a recording of Science on Stage 2021 below. This year’s event took place virtually on 26 May:

We took our annual Science on Stage event online for the first time in 2021. Our presentations and live demonstrations reached 3368 live participants. 3305 students joined from 60 schools across the country and from a British School in Spain: Holy Trinity Pewley Down School, Guildford; Mosaic Jewish Primary School, Wandsworth; Oxford Gardens Primary School, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea;  Awliscombe C of E Primary School, Honiton; Fairfield Primary School, Croydon; Marian Vian Primary School, Bromley; Heathland School, Harrow; Jubilee Primary School and Children’s Centre, Lambeth; Crocketts Community Primary School, Smethwick, Loughborough Primary School, Lambeth; Herbert Morrison Primary School, Lambeth; Embley, Hampshire; Acorn Academy, Exeter; Belmont Primary School, Hounslow; Falkland Primary School, Berkshire; St Jude’s Primary School, Lambeth; Castlecombe Primary School, Bromley; Y Bont Faen Primary School, Cowbridge; Hallfield Primary School, Westminster; Albert Primary School, Penarth; Orchard Primary School, Lambeth; Normanhurst School, Chingford; Archbishop Summer CofE Primary School, Lambeth; Catmose Primary School, Oakham; The Norwood School, Lambeth; St Giles CofE Primary School, Walsall; St Stephen’s CofE Primary School, Lambeth; Payhembury CofE Primary School; Honiton; St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea; Christchurch Streatham CofE Primary School, Lambeth; Butlers Court School, Beaconsfield; Ashmole Primary School, Lambeth; St Saviour’s CofE Primary School, Lambeth; St Barnabas’ CE Primary School, Westminster; St Cuthbert’s RC Primary School, Cardiff; St Augustine’s Priory, Ealing; Sherfield School, Hook; Smallwood Primary School, Wandsworth; St Nicholas CE Junior School, Newbury; Soho Parish Primary School, Westminster; Squirrels Heath Junior School, Havering; Burdett-Couts & Townsend Federation Primary School, Westminster; St Joseph’s, Croyden; Clapham Manor Primary School & Nursery; Lambeth, Mandeville Primary School, Hackney; Vauxhall Primary School, Lambeth; English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School, Reading; St Vincent de Paul Catholic Primary School, Westminster; Holy Trinity CofE Primary School, Lambeth; St Dominic’s Catholic Primary School, Hackney; Baden Powell Primary School, Cardiff; Ton Pentre Junior School, Pentre; Shiphay Learning Academy, Torquay; The Priory Primary School, Tadley; Marshwood Academy, Axminster; Fairlawn Primary School, Lewisham; ; Gospel Oak Primary & Nursery School, Camden; Gwauncelyn Primary School, Pontypridd; Morton CE Primary School, Bourne; Oakfield Preparatory School, Lambeth. 63 home educated students also joined us from all over the UK: London, Norfolk, Bletchley, Sherfield on Loddon, Reading, Eastleigh, Corsham, Failsworth, Potters Bar, Hermitage, Rickmansworth, Southampton, Northampton, Meldreth, Llandysul, Swindon, Basingtoke, Rooks Bridge, Stevenage, Cambridge, Cardiff, Stanford le Hope, Bradford, New Bradwell.

Feedback has been incredibly positive:

Thank you for the brilliant workshop. We learned a lot and have been looking more into Benjamin Franklin since the session. We’re very interested in music, so delved a bit deeper into his instrument.

Thank you, children love the WOW factor moments!

The children really enjoyed the event. They particularly liked the explosions and the stories behind the science. Thank you.