Family Day: Strike a Pose!

Tuesday 24 August 11am-12.30pm. Book tickets here.

Benjamin Franklin, like many important figures in history, has featured in paintings and sculpture. Visit the virtual exhibition, Franklin In Portraits, on our Bloomberg Connects Guide to learn about some of the most famous ones. Children will become artists for the morning and create their own portraits using sculpture and collage techniques!

Most suitable for ages 5-11 but all ages are welcome!

COVID-19 Safety Precautions:

– We are limiting bookings to 10 people. Each family group will receive their own pack of materials to use for the crafts

– Activities will take place in a well-ventilated historic space with hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes available

– All staff and adult visitors are encouraged to wear a mask 

Virtual Alternative

If you would prefer to learn with Benjamin Franklin House remotely, you can sign up here for a 30-minute follow-up via Zoom at 3pm BST/10am EDT on Tuesday 24 August. To complete the self-portrait activity at home, you will need: colouring paper/ pens and paper

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our Education Manager.

Family Day: Print This!

Tuesday 3 August 11am-12.30pm. Book tickets here.

Did you know that Ben Franklin started out as a printer? Nowadays we think of a printer as something that connects to a computer but the mechanical printing press was cutting edge technology in Franklin’s time. Join us for this fun-filled family day to learn all about 18th Century printing methods and try your hand at some printing of your own!

Most suitable for ages 5-11 but all ages are welcome!

COVID-19 Safety Precautions:

– We are limiting bookings to 10 people. Each family group will receive their own pack of materials to use for the crafts

– Activities will take place in a well-ventilated historic space with hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes available

– All staff and adult visitors are encouraged to wear a mask 

Virtual Alternative

If you would prefer to learn with Benjamin Franklin House remotely, you can sign up here for a 30-minute follow-up via Zoom at 3pm BST/10am EDT on Tuesday 3 August. To complete the printing activity at home, you will need: cardboard, scissors, pva glue, masking tape, paint and paper. 

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our Education Manager.

Children’s Summer Fete

Friday 30 July, 11.30am-3.30pm at 49 City Road, London, EC1Y 1AU. Book tickets here.

The annual Children’s Summer Fete, with special guests from the world of heritage including Benjamin Franklin House, the Museum of Methodism & John Wesley’s House, Newington Green Meeting House and Arts & Crafts Hammersmith (a collaboration between the Emery Walker Trust and the William Morris Society), offers a range of fun craft activities for families!

This year, children will have the opportunity to make their own kites with Benjamin Franklin House, pin badges to tell the world about issues they care strongly about with Newington Green Meeting House and a mini folded book with Arts & Crafts Hammersmith. Craft butterflies with The Museum of Methodism & John Wesley’s House and you can also make your own John Wesley and friends! There’ll be a courtyard ‘I-spy’ trail and don’t forget to join a free tour of John Wesley’s House, led by guides in costume.

The Fete will be held in the garden of Wesley’s chapel so bring a picnic to enjoy on the grass or benches! The main entrance is on City Road, however, a more accessible entrance which leads directly into the garden is located on Tabernacle Street. Find out more about the Museum of Methodism & John Wesley’s House here.

The Fete is free to attend but advanced booking is strongly advised to help us plan for the event. Families can join on a drop-in basis throughout the day, however, we will be limiting numbers to 30 at all times. We encourage adult visitors to wear masks and all attendees to maintain a level of distance from staff and other families. Hand sanitiser and sanitising wipes will be readily available on the day.

For more information, contact the Education Manager.

Transatlantic Slavery Symposium

Daily panel discussions: Monday 9 – Friday 13 August, 5pm BST/12pm ET.

Keynote panel: Wednesday 11 August, 7pm BST/2pm ET.

Free registration here.

The Transatlantic Slavery Symposium is a joint venture between the Robert H. Smith Scholarship Centre at Benjamin Franklin House in London, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Our aim is to bring together scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to address the lasting impact of the Transatlantic Slave Trade through panel discussions on themes ranging from its historical foundations and development in the Revolutionary Atlantic world to current best practices in the museums and heritage sector. We hope that by addressing this complex topic from a historical and contemporary perspective, that we can spark further discussions on how to bring stories of enslaved people to the forefront of public history internationally.

Capitalism and Slavery

Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Keynote: Public Programming and Interpreting Slavery in the Founding Era

Wednesday, August 11, 2021, 2:00 p.m. ET/7:00 p.m. GMT

Historic Sites Interpreting Slavery

Thursday, August 12, 2021, 12:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. GMT

Ben’s Book Club: Thomas Jefferson’s Idea of a University with Andrew O’Shaughnessy

Wednesday 15 September, 12pm ET/5pm BST. Register here.

This month we will be talking to Dr Andrew O’Shaughnessy about his book “The Illimitable Freedom of the Human Mind,” Thomas Jefferson’s Idea of a University’ which tells story of how Thomas Jefferson developed his ideas for education in early America and how these ideas continue to have relevance to public education in the United States to this very day. 

Thomas Jefferson was directly involved in every aspect in the creation of the University of Virginia. From the physical space to the legislation and curriculum, Jefferson stood firm in his belief in a modern 18th century education system. Although his ideas were opposed at first by his fellow politicians, Jefferson proved that he had a unique and progressive vision that can still be felt today.  

Andrew O’Shaughnessy is Vice President of Monticello, the Saunders Director of the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies at the Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Professor of History at the University of Virginia.  He is the author of An Empire Divided: The American Revolution and the British Caribbean (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2000).  His most recent book The Men Who Lost America: British Leadership, the American Revolution and the Fate of the Empire (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013) received eight national awards including the New York Historical Society American History Book Prize, the George Washington Book Prize, and the Society of Military History Book Prize. 

You can pre-order a hardcopy or e-book here (UK) or here (US).   

Join us even if you don’t have a chance to read the book by the event date! 

This event is free of charge but please consider making an online donation here to support the work of Benjamin Franklin House. 

Open House Weekend 2021

Saturday 4 – Sunday 5 September, 12pm – 4.15pm

Open House London is the capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design. This annual event allows the public to cross the threshold of many of London’s most interesting buildings, including Grade I listed, 1730s Benjamin Franklin House.

Free entry. Details and guided tour times TBC.

Festival of Archaeology for Kids: Bones in the Basement

Thursday 22 July, 4.30pm BST/ 11.30am ET. Register here for this 30-minute workshop.

Join us for this special virtual event to celebrate the Festival of Archaeology!

We’ll learn all about the bones that were uncovered in the basement at 36 Craven street in the 1990s. They are remnants of an 18th century anatomy school, run from the garden of the House by Dr William Hewson, while Benjamin Franklin was living here.

We’ll also be hearing from special guest, Dana Goodburn-Brown, who’ll tell us about her work as an archaeological conservator and share some of the artefacts she is currently working on with us.

Most Suitable for KS2-3 (US Grades 2-8) but all ages welcome!

For more information, contact our Education Manager.

Franklin’s Young Inventors: ‘Reaction Time’ with Andrew Hanson

Tuesday 6 July, 4.30pm BST. Register here for this 60-minute virtual workshop.

Franklin’s Young Inventors is our weekly science club for aspiring scientists in Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14). For the final session of the school year, we’re delighted to welcome back special guest Andrew Hanson who will show you how to measure your reaction time!

Andrew Hanson MBE is a scientist working at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) where they measure all sorts of things. In this session, you’ll learn how to measure your reaction time which is very important when taking part in sports.

To join in with the (optional though recommended) practical activity – you will need:

  • 2 people
  • A 30 cm ruler
  • A calculator (this could be on a phone or tablet)
  • A printed copy of this results sheet or a paper and pencil

A parent, carer or teacher should register on behalf of participants. By registering, participants agree to follow our Online Safety Agreement. For more information, contact our Education Manager.

Funding for Franklin’s Young Inventors has been generously provided by the US Embassy London and the DAR Walter Hines Page Chapter:

Fulbright Lecture: Spectacle and Social Order in ‘Scientific’ Prints

 

In the second half of the eighteenth century, scientific demonstrations, sponsored by Benjamin Franklin, the Midlands-based Lunar Society, and others, were popular entertainments that said as much about social order as they did about science and technology. Depicted in paintings and popular prints, the social message of these demonstrations was elevated even more. Visual references created witty social commentary, and invited a variety of audiences to find relevance in the artworks. In this talk, Prof. Louise Siddons will take a close look at mezzotints by Valentine Green after Joseph Wright and others, asking how changing audiences affected the interpretation of the imagery in his prints.

Watch here:

Dr. Siddons is Professor in Art History at Oklahoma State University whose research interests focus on the history of printmaking and photography, particularly in relation to representations of race, racialization, gender and sexuality. Her Fulbright award supports the completion of her book manuscript which will examine American photographer Laura Gilpin’s 1968 book, “The Enduring Navaho.” Siddons will examine her position within the intersectional politics of twentieth-century photography, Indigeneity and queerness, as well as discuss the propositions Gilpin made for both queer and Native self-determination and sovereignty through the book’s visuals.

For more information on Benjamin Franklin House please www.benjaminfranklinhouse.org

Live History Class for Kids: Georgian Work and Industry

Join our virtual history classes on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 4:30pm BST to learn about key aspects of the Georgian period, when Benjamin Franklin was living in London. Together we will uncover the past and develop historical skills!

In this class we’ll look at different jobs which people had in the Georgian era. We’ll learn about the Industrial Revolution and the impact this had on Britain as well as the wider world. We’ll create our own fact file and the most important inventions from this period!

Activity materials: pencil, paper, ruler

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

Watch the class below: