WPI to Host Traveling Exhibit on the Life of Benjamin Franklin

Media Contact
March 07, 2011

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Worcester Polytechnic Institute's (WPI) George C. Gordon Library will host the traveling exhibition Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World. The exhibit runs from March 9 through April 22, 2011. It is free and open to the public.

The exhibit, which is made possible by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, tells the remarkable story of a man who began his life as a poor printer's apprentice and ended it as a revered elder statesman. It gives public audiences the opportunity to explore Franklin's life, his contributions to the founding of the United States, and his high standards for work, citizenship, and contribution to community. The exhibit looks at his background, his self-education, and his philosophical and religious beliefs and their effect on his work and life. It shows Franklin in the context of the 18th century and as a brilliant and rather unconventional product of his times.

The exhibit is arranged in thematic sections showing Franklin in the Boston of his youth, Franklin's family and personal life, as well as the years when he built his business as Philadelphia's premier printer. The exhibit also looks at Franklin's commitment to public service, his interests in medicine and public health, and his work in science and philosophy. Franklin's political career in England, France, and the United States, and his contributions to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and other major documents are also featured.

A reception will be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 17, with Franklin re-enactor J.T. Turner. On April 4 at 4 p.m., Joyce Chaplin, author of the Franklin biography, The First Scientific American, will deliver a lecture.