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Scholarship Centre


Support the Project


The Robert H. Smith Scholarship Centre is located on the top floor of the House and serves as a hub for Franklin-related study in Europe, with a full set of the Papers of Benjamin Franklin – which were purchased through a gift from the US Embassy London prior to opening, an active placement programme for university students from the US, UK, and farther afield, and nearly 40 public events per year.

US, UK, and other scholars have access - using print and online services - to the nearly 40 volumes of Franklin's writings produced, with analysis by scholars based at Yale University, thanks to support from the US Embassy London.

The Scholarship Centre is named for Robert H. Smith, a great man, who believed in and supported the potential of Franklin's only remaining home. In May 2010 we held the inaugural Robert H. Smith Annual Lecture in American Democracy in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, to honour Robert H. Smith, who was passionate about the roots and reach of American Democracy.

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key Scholarship Centre initiative is the annual Benjamin Franklin House Symposium in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies at the British Library, which features leading speakers in fields such as science, politics, and business discussing issues inspired by Franklin's life and work.

Topics of previous symposia have included Franklin and the Media's Role in Global Affairs, Benjamin Franklin and the Human Genome, Benjamin Franklin Design and Innovation and Benjamin Franklin and the Globalisation of Science. Dr. Richard Horton, Editor of the Lancet, celebrated particle physicist Professor Brian Cox, and Paul Smith, Director of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, are all past presenters.

See details of the 2016 lecture here.

Volunteer Placements

The Benjamin Franklin House volunteering programme attracts students from American and British universities, and those across Europe and farther afield, helping them gain skills in education, marketing, and museum operations. Following a detailed induction, they gain exposure to all aspects of the House, including running the Historical Experience, working in the Box Office, and assisting the team.  They have completed projects like developing a trail of sites important to Franklin across Britain; designing and running special weekend family days; crafting exhibition proposals and budgets; translating House information materials into foreign languages; obtaining maps and other historical documents from local archives; researching responses to special enquiries; and writing articles for posting on the House website. We provide social opportunities allowing our volunteers, who represent different cultures and backgrounds, to engage with one another in informal ways, including open evenings in the House. Volunteers have an opportunity to express their talents during their tenure, including through special projects such as a photography exhibition held by a previous volunteer to showcase images relating to international relations.  For more information contact