Philadelphia | A Visit To The Benjamin Franklin Museum

Sunday, April 8, 2018

We saw the Benjamin Franklin Museum while atop the Hop On/Hop Off Bus. It was our last stop as well. As soon as we got off the bus, I told Mr Sweetie that we had to really   check it out. 

Benjamin Franklin was the first American historical figure that I became familiar with as a child. I learned about him from one of the books that I got at the National Bookstore  that my parents took me to every Sunday in Manila. My dad and I are voracious readers. We would end up with as many as two dozen books every visit. And I was only 8 years old!

What I knew of Benjamin Franklin was his experiment on electricity one stormy day. He put a key inside a jar that was tied to a kite string. Voila, electricity! (I am sure that it was more complicated than that but that was my perspective as a child.)

So I just had to see his house as it was mentioned by our tour guide. 


As soon as I saw the covered tunnel, I already felt a sense of excitement. Benjamin Franklin walked through this very same  cobblestone passage to his house and  courtyard!


We walked through the passage to get to the Benjamin Franklin Museum. The museum was very interactive. It had games  that challenged the visitors while learning about Ben Franklin's life. It was however, disappointing to me as the museum only contained mostly reproductions of his books and artifacts of his time. (We did not get to go to Fragments of Franklin Court Museum where archeological artifacts unearthed from his courtyard were on display.) 

Despite the initial disappointment, I found Ben Franklin's life to be very interesting and inspiring, actually. He had a natural sense of curiosity and pursued whatever aroused his interest. His life's lessons are very relevant (and familiar!) even to this day. Here are some of them:

Don't throw stones at your neighbors if your windows are glass.

Early to bed, early to rise makes  a man, healthy, wealthy and wise.

Be frugal and industrious and you will be free.  

(The last one was my personal favorite.) I enjoyed reading  his correspondence with his female friends. They were relatable and painted a picture of Ben Franklin as a sociable human who enjoyed delicious rich food, fine wine and great conversations in the comfortable company of his friends. The warm  letters brought him down from the stern man who was passionate about politics of his century to a man who was jovial and candid about eating too much!   I also enjoyed learning about the rebellious stage in his youth where he threatened to run away from home to pursue his love of writing. 

Benjamin Franklin invented many things that we use today as part of our everyday comforts such as bifocals, a better street lamp design and the "Franklin Stove".  He  founded the American Philosophical Society and behind the establishment of lending libraries, fire insurance and school for enslaved children among many of his accomplishments.


Finally, I was also dismayed to find out that his house was already long gone. (I love visiting the homes of historical figures.)  Instead, in its place was an steel structure that outlines where his house and his grandson's printing press used to be.  The Franklin Courtyard provides access to B. Franklin Post Office, Printing Press, etc. 

It was a lovely and educational afternoon with Mr Sweetie. And this museum was not even on my radar until I saw it from our bus! This just shows that traveling holds so many surprises for us as long as we are open to adventures. 

Before leaving we checked  out the small gift shop where Mr Sweetie bought me a necklace with  Franklinia pendant and some souvenirs for our loved ones.  (He buys me a necklace every time we travel to a new place).  

317 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Tickets:  $5 for adults | $2 for children 4 - 16 | 3 and under are free

Next, our first taste of Philly Cheesesteak sandwich in Philadephia. (To be posted soon.)