Benjamin Franklin House
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upcoming Events


To book for any event, please phone our box office +44 (0) 207 925 1405 (open 10.30am-5pm everyday except Tuesday) or send a cheque made payable to 'Friends of Benjamin Franklin House' along with the name of the event/date to Benjamin Franklin House, 36 Craven Street, London WC2N 5NF. Friends, students, and those over 65 are entitled to a concessionary rate.

Many of our events have a limited capacity so we advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment. For information about our events programme please email

Benjamin Franklin House Events 2016

Join us for fascinating Franklinesque events: from family workshops, to lectures and our annual 4th July party!

Download our 2016 Events Guide


2016 UK Robert H. Smith Lecture: The Intimate History of Democracy and Money in America

LOCATION: The British Library, The Terrace Restaurant, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB 

Tuesday 24 May, 6.30pm

The American political system in 2016 is awash in billions of dollars, a situation that may well compromise the country’s democratic aspirations.  How did this happen?  Cambridge University’s Gary Gerstle takes us back to America’s origins and reconstructs the strangely intimate and symbiotic relationship of democracy and money across the whole of the nation’s history.

 £10/£8/£7 - booking via the British Library: 01937546546 and

Family Day: Franklin In Frame

Tuesday 31 May, 11am

Ben Franklin, 18th century scientist, inventor, and US Founding Father, was fascinated by the natural world and it’s exploration. He investigated lightning and the Gulf Stream. He was intrigued by the Aurora Borealis and attended the first manned flight of the Montgolfier Brothers’ hot air balloon in 1783. This half-term, help bring these historic scenes to life by creating mixed-media art, to be displayed at Benjamin Franklin House for a short-term exhibition before being returned to their creators! Suitable for 5-11 year olds.

 Tickets: Free. Advanced booking is recommended as capacity is limited. To book, visit 


Franklin’s Singing Bowls: An Evening with the Glass Armonica

Monday 6 June, 6.30pm

In 1762, Franklin premiered his new musical invention, the glass armonica which had been devised a year earlier at 36 Craven Street. Mallory Horrill, Front of House and Marketing Supervisor, will demonstrate how ethereal sounds are produced from rotating glass bowls which have inspired compositions by Mozart, Beethoven, (JC) Bach, and more recently, rock musicians like Jarvis Cocker and Damian Albarn.

£5/£3.50 for Friends and Concessions

Annual Science Fair

Tuesday 14 June, 11am

Our annual Summer Fete, in collaboration with special guests from the world of heritage, will include arts & crafts activities and games for all the family such as Franklin Flyers, a paper plane making workshop with a difference. Our guests will include Charles Dickens Museum, Dr Johnson’s House, and the Ragged School Museum. The Fete will be held in the lovely gardens of Leighton House Museum.

Free – school bookings required

Independence Day Party

Monday 4 July, 12-2pm

 Join us for a celebration of Independence Day at Benjamin Franklin House. Enjoy cake and a glass of bubbly in the world’s only remaining Franklin home. As a founder of the United States, Franklin was the only statesman to have signed all four documents that created a new nation, including The Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and The Constitution. The first of these was signed on July 4, 1776, an annual US holiday.

 £8/£5 Friends and Concessions

Concordia Concert

Thursday 21  July, 7.30pm

We will be hosting an evening in keeping with Franklin’s love of 18th century music in association with our Craven Street neighbours, the Concordia Foundation, which serves young musicians. Join us for a programme of music for flute and guitar with Flauguissimo Duo.

 £20 including refreshments

Family Day: Festival of Archaeology

Tuesday 26 July, 11am

 As part of the Festival of Archaeology, children will explore the House’s fascinating archaeological history. They will discover why human bones were found in the basement and the story they tell about the history of medicine. Suitable for 7-14 year olds.

 Free, but donations welcome! – Advanced booking recommended

Family Day: Children’s Summer Fete

Location: Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London W14 8LZ

Saturday 6 August, 11am - 4pm

 Our annual Summer Fete will take place in collaboration with special guests from the world of heritage, and will include activities for all the family. The Fete will be held in the lovely gardens of Leighton House Museum so bring a picnic!

 Free, but donations welcome! – Advanced booking recommended

Family Day:  Olde Time Olympics

Tuesdays 2 & 9 August, 11am

With the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro on the horizon, get on your starting blocks for some Olympic Games, Georgian style! Enter our 18th century games, including tossing quoits and marbles, and compete for a Gold Medal! Suitable for 5-8 year olds.

Free, but donations welcome! – Advanced booking recommended

Family Day:  Faces of Franklin (and Friends)

Tuesdays 23 & 30 August, 11am

Ben Franklin, like many of the most important figures in history, has been immortalised in sculptures such as the famous bust by Jean Houdon, on display in the Louvre in Paris. Learn sculpting techniques and put them to use by creating a variety of fun sculptures including Franklin’s head, and yours to take home! Suitable for 7-11 year olds.

Free, but donations welcome! – Advanced booking recommended

Franklin and Climate Change

Monday 12 September, 1pm

 The term ’climate change’ refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. This may include changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns. House scholar Lady Joan Reid will explore how Franklin's eighteenth century thinking touched on climate change.

 £5/£3.50 for Friends and Concessions



Open House London

Saturday 17 and Sunday 18 September, 10.30am-4pm

 Open House London is the capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design. This annual event allows the public to cross the threshold of some of London’s most interesting buildings, including Grade I, 1730s Benjamin Franklin House. Half-hourly guided tours will take place throughout the day.

 Free – half-hourly tours run on a first come first served basis

The Kite and Key

Monday 26 September, 6.30pm

 Join Education Manager, Stephen Wilson, for a lecture and live demonstration exploring the science and speculation behind Franklin’s infamous and much-mythologised ‘kite and key’ experiment, said to have been conducted to prove that lightning is an electrical phenomenon. For science novices and Franklin fans alike.

£5/£3.50 Friends and Concessions



Family Day: Hallowe’en at Benjamin Franklin House

Tuesday 25 October, 4-5pm

Children will be entertained by 18th century scary stories told by Polly Hewson and ghastly games!

Free, but donations welcome! – Advanced booking recommended

Presidential Debate

LOCATION The British Library Conference Centre Auditorium , 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Friday 28 October, 6.30pm

 Just prior to the American Presidential election, we will host a debate featuring representatives of Republicans Overseas and Democrats Abroad on the best person to lead the United States in the years ahead. 

Booking via the British Library: 01937546546 and



Museums at Night - Craven Street Bones

Saturday 29 October, 6.30pm

In 1997, a chance discovery during conservation sparked an investigation at Benjamin Franklin House: how did human skeletal remains of up to 10 individuals come to be buried under the basement floor?  Historian Braena Sykes will explore the answer to this question and reveal the darker side of the 18th century’s pursuit of knowledge.

£5/£3.50 Friends and Concessions

Put your stamp on it: Ben Franklin and a dreaded Act, 250 years on

Wednesday 16 November, 6.30pm

Benjamin Franklin House Director, Dr. Márcia Balisciano, will show that while Franklin did not initially realise the furore the Stamp Act would cause, he played an important part in its repeal.  Looking back on it today, she will argue it was a catalyst for the eventual American Revolution.

£5/£3.50 Friends and Concessions



Annual Symposium in association with the Eccles Centre:  30 Years of Bloomsbury

LOCATION: The British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Monday 21 November, 6.30pm

Nigel Newton, an entrepreneur and publisher like Benjamin Franklin, looks back over the thrills and spills - the key moments in the story of the publishing house he started 30 years ago.  Among Bloomsbury Publishing’s best known authors are J. K. Rowling and her Harry Potter books, Khaled Hosseini with The Kite Runner and Michael Ondaatje’s The English Patient. 

£10/£8/£7 - booking via the British Library: 01937546546 and


Thanksgiving Dinner

LOCATION: Clothworkers' Hall, Dunster Court, Mincing Lane, London EC3R 7AH

Thursday 24 November, 7.30pm

An American Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings will take place at magnificent Clothworkers’ Hall.  Roast turkey (and stuffing, vegetables, and of course pumpkin pie) will be a highlight.  Franklin, in addition to suggesting the turkey become one of America’s national symbols, practised cooking it as part of his early work on electricity.

£80 Adults/ £45 children 



Annual Friends and Neighbours Christmas Party

Thursday 8 December, 6.30pm

Celebrate the festive season with friends of the House and our Craven Street neighbours.  In the great British holiday tradition, enjoy a mince pie, and a glass or two of homemade mulled wine.

Free – RSVP to


Family Day: Children’s Christmas Party

Saturday 10 December, 10.30am

With Christmas just around the corner, children will discover the magic of the holiday – 18th century style – with crafts and treats. Sing along to festive classics such as ’Silent Night’ and ’Jingle Bells’ with accompaniment on the glass armonica, Franklin’s musical instrument. Enjoy mince pies and deck the halls with Christmas crafts to make and take home! Suitable for 5-11 year olds.

 Free, but donations welcome! – Advanced booking recommended