Founded in 1824, the Franklin Institute is one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States. It’s located on the outer edge of Fairmount Park, straddling Fairmount Park and downtown Philly. Not surprisingly, the institute is named after the American scientist and statesman, Benjamin Franklin, and also houses the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial.
Many scientists have demonstrated groundbreaking new technology at the Franklin Institute. One such notable event was the first public demonstration of an all-electronic television system, given by Philo Taylor Farnsworth on August 25, 1934.
The Institute moved into its current home on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, near the intersection with 20th Street, in 1934. The new facility was intended from the start to educate visitors through hand-on interactions with exhibits:
“Visitors to this museum would be encouraged to touch, handle, and operate the exhibits in order to learn how things work.”
One interesting piece of sordid history: On March 31, 1940, press agent William Castellini issued a press release stating that the world would end the next day. The story was picked up by KYW, which reported:
This caused a panic in the city, which only subsided when the Franklin Institute assured people it had made no such prediction. Castellini, as you might imagine, found himself brushing up his resume with his fountain pen forthwith.
Check out the events at the Franklin Institute!