Live History Class for Kids: Georgian Kings and Queens

Join our virtual history classes on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 3pm GMT 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 take a look at the kings and queens that ruled during this time as well as the key events that took place during their reigns. We’ll think about the imporance of chronology when learning about the past and make our own timelines!

Activity materials: paper, pencil, ruler

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

Please note that the session will be recorded. By registering, participants agree to follow our Online Safety Agreement. For more information, contact our Education Manager.

Watch the class below:

Ben’s Book Club: ‘Tacky’s Revolt’ by Vincent Brown

Wednesday February 17th 2021, 5pm GMT/12pm ET. Register here.

Join us for the February instalment of Ben’s Book Club, a monthly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.

This month we will be talking to Vincent Brown about his book ‘Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War’, a gripping account of the largest slave revolt in the eighteenth-century British Atlantic world, an uprising that laid bare the interconnectedness of Europe, Africa, and America, shook the foundations of empire, and reshaped ideas of race and popular belonging.

In the second half of the eighteenth century, as European imperial conflicts extended the domain of capitalist agriculture, warring African factions fed their captives to the transatlantic slave trade while masters struggled continuously to keep their restive slaves under the yoke. In this contentious atmosphere, a movement of enslaved West Africans in Jamaica (then called Coromantees) organized to throw off that yoke by violence. Their uprising—which became known as Tacky’s Revolt—featured a style of fighting increasingly familiar today: scattered militias opposing great powers, with fighters hard to distinguish from noncombatants. It was also part of a more extended borderless conflict that spread from Africa to the Americas and across the island. Even after it was put down, the insurgency rumbled throughout the British Empire at a time when slavery seemed the dependable bedrock of its dominion. That certitude would never be the same, nor would the views of black lives, which came to inspire both more fear and more sympathy than before.

Vincent Brown is Charles Warren Professor of American History and Professor of African and African American Studies.  He directs the History Design Studio and teaches courses in Atlantic history, African diaspora studies, and the history of slavery in the Americas. Brown is also the author of The Reaper’s Garden: Death and Power in the World of Atlantic Slavery (Harvard University Press, 2008), producer of Herskovits at the Heart of Blackness, an audiovisual documentary broadcast on the PBS series Independent Lens.

You can purchase a hardcopy of ‘Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War’ here. You can purchase the Kindle edition here.

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.

Ben’s Book Club: ‘The Fortunes of Francis Barber’ by Michael Bundock

Wednesday January 20th 2021, 5pm GMT/12pm ET. Register here.

Join us for the January instalment of Ben’s Book Club, a monthly virtual gathering looking at themes relating to Benjamin Franklin, the 18th century, and American history.

This month we will be talking to Michael Bundock about his compelling narrative, ‘The Fortunes of Francis Barber: The story of the Jamaican slave who became Samuel Johnson’s heir’, which chronicles a young boy’s journey from the horrors of Jamaican slavery to the heart of London’s literary world, and reveals the unlikely friendship that changed his life.

Francis Barber, born in Jamaica, was brought to London by his owner in 1750 and became a servant in the household of the renowned Dr. Samuel Johnson. Although Barber left London for a time and served in the British navy during the Seven Years’ War, he later returned to Johnson’s employ. A fascinating reversal took place in the relationship between the two men as Johnson’s health declined and the older man came to rely more and more upon his now educated and devoted companion. When Johnson died he left the bulk of his estate to Barber, a generous (and at the time scandalous) legacy, and a testament to the depth of their friendship. There were thousands of black Britons in the eighteenth century, but few accounts of their lives exist. In uncovering Francis Barber’s story, this book not only provides insights into his life and Samuel Johnson’s but also opens a window onto London when slaves had yet to win their freedom.

Michael Bundock is a barrister, a trustee of Dr Johnson’s House and Chair of the Johnson Society of London. He is an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of English Language and Literature at UCL.

You can purchase a copy of ‘The Fortunes of Francis Barber’ from the online shop at Dr Johnson’s House here. Click here to find out more about this Grade I listed historic town house which was Samuel Johnson’s home. You can support the charity which preserves the house and runs its vibrant education and events programme here.

You can also purchase the Kindle edition of ‘The Fortunes of Francis Barber’ here.

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.

Virtual Children’s Christmas Fair: Leighton House Museum

Hannah Lund, Assistant Curator at Leighton House Museum will show us how to make paper cranes using origami, the Japanese art of paper folding, to bring us good luck for the coming year.

Although Frederic, Lord Leighton never visited Japan, he was fascinated by the art and culture of this country. He collected lots of beautiful Japanese artworks and objects, like the exquisite golden screen decorated with cranes that he kept in his studio. In Japanese folklore, cranes are said to live for 1,000 years and so are a symbol of a long life, and are thought to bring good luck.

To complete the activity, all you will need are squares of paper – these could be origami paper squares, squares you cut yourself or even sweetie wrappers!

Watch the video below:

Virtual Children’s Christmas Fair: Arts and Crafts Hammersmith

Arts and Crafts Hammersmith (a collaboration between Emery Walker’s House and the William Morris Society) will show you how to make angel peg dolls based on William Morris and Edward Burne-Jones angel illustrations, tapestries and embroideries.

To complete the activity, you will need: a wooden peg, a sheet of kitchen roll, a glue stick, a pair of scissors, felt tip pens, biro pen or pencil, a helpful adult, printed worksheet

You can download the worksheet here and watch the video below:

 

Virtual Children’s Christmas Fair: Benjamin Franklin House

Have you every wondered how Benjamin Franklin might have celebrated Christmas, while he was living in London at 36 Craven Street? Join our Education Manager for this live session and learn all about Georgian Christmas traditions. You’ll also find out how you can make your own simple festive wreath at home!

To complete the activity, you will need: 1 paper plate, wrapping paper, scissors, PVA glue (or tape), ribbon or string, stickers and other decorations

Watch the recording below:

Virtual Children’s Christmas Fair: John Wesley’s House

John Wesley’s House is an 18th century townhouse, where John Wesley, one of the main founders of the Methodist Church, lived from 1779 – 1791.

Christmas at the House is a special time, when we’d usually decorate the House and welcome visitors to experience the sights, sounds and smells of a traditional Christmas. This year we are delighted to be joining in with Benjamin Franklin House’s Children’s Christmas Fair to share some of this with you virtually!

Join Gemma, Learning and Community Engagement Officer at John Wesley’s House to explore a little of the building’s history and learn how to make your own personalised Christmas Angel.

To complete the activity, you will need: 1 paper plate, paper, decorative paper (optional) scissors, tape, felt tip pens

Watch the recording below:

Virtual Children’s Christmas Fair: Newington Green Meeting House

For over 300 years people have gathered at Newington Green Meeting House to ask questions, work together and learn more about the world. Inspired by the many scientists that have called Newington Green Meeting House home – we are going to conduct our own festive science experiment. Amy Todd, Community and Learning Manger at Newington Green Meeting House, will show you how by manipulating how materials react with eachother – and with the help of some paint and glitter – you’ll be able to make your own mini snow storm in a jar!

To complete the activity, you will need: a glass jar, white paint, alka seltzer, glitter

Watch the recording below:

Virtual Children’s Christmas Fair

We’ve teamed up with friends from across the heritage world to bring a range of fun festive craft ideas to you this December! Follow the links below:

Click here to find out about Georgian Christmas traditions and learn how to make a festive wreath with Benjamin Franklin House

Click here to make a personalised paper plate angel with John Wesley’s House

Click here to make a snowstorm in a jar with Newington Green Meeting House

Click here to make an angel peg doll with Arts and Crafts Hammersmith (a collaboration between Emery Walker’s House and the William Morris Society)

Click here to make a paper crane using origami with Leighton House Museum

Franklin’s Young Inventors: Special Guest

Saturday 5 December, 11.30am GMT. Register here for this 30-minute virtual class.

Franklin’s Young Inventors is our weekly science club for aspiring scientists in Key Stage 3 (ages 11-14). This autumn we are delivering our science club virtually via Zoom on Tuesdays at 4.30pm GMT or Saturdays at 11.30am GMT. Participants will learn all about the experiments carried out by Benjamin Franklin and his British friends as well as trying their hand at practical investigations. This week we’re delighted to welcome a very special guest, Hamid the Supersonic Science Professor, who will deliver his amazing Bubble Science show!

The Bubble Science show has been thrilling audiences around the country for five years with the art, magic, science and fun of bubbles. Hamid has performed to thousands of people from children to OAPs from, Rocket bublles, Helium bubbles, Volcano bubbles, Tornado bubbles to Foggy bubbles, and even Cube bubbles – Bubble Science is a show to enchant adults and children alike with Hamid’s unique blend of skill and humour.

With infectious enthusiasm, Hamid explains some enchanting facts about bubbles, bringing science to life and into the realm of fun. As well as exploring the dynamics of bubbles, Hamid invokes much laugter and gasps of amazement from all ages.

This wonderous show combines breath-taking artistry, surprising science and enough spellbinding bubble tricks to keep all ages spellbound.

Most suitable for Years 7-9 (US Grades 6-8) but all ages welcome!

For more information, contact our Education Manager.

Funding for Franklin’s Young Inventors has generously been provided by the United States Government.