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past News – 2008

William Hewson & the Craven Street Bones Exhibition

Throughout October, the full collection of human and animal remains from William Hewson’s anatomy school, run at 36 Craven Street in the late 18th century, will be on display to the public for the first time at Benjamin Franklin House, accompanied by information on Hewson’s life and times. These grisly remains were uncovered during excavation of the basement of Benjamin Franklin House in 1998. A special history of medicine lecture series runs on Mondays throughout the month, while Saturday 18th October sees an adult talk plus free activities for kids.

Wednesday 1st – Friday 31st October, exhibition open daily 12-5pm (except Tuesdays), £7/£5 (includes Historical Experience show)

Lectures cost £5/£3conc (includes exhibition viewing)

Children’s activities free of charge

For more information please click on the tab on the left.

bones after discovery

Benjamin Franklin House to take part in Museums and Galleries Month in May

MGM Header

As part of Museums and Galleries Month BenjaminFranklin House will be running a series of special events, listed below.

Foreign Accounts: Benjamin Franklin House Tours in Castilian, French, Galician, Italian and Portuguese
Wednesday 7th, Thursday 8th and Friday 9th of May from 10.30 to 12.00                                                                
Benjamin Franklin House will organize special tours in Castilian, French, Galician, Italian and Portuguese.  The visits will take place on Wednesday the 7th, Thursday the 8th and Friday the 9th of May between 10.30 and 12.00.  Visitors will additionally be treated to a special talk on forensic archaeology and the bones found at the House and a short lecture on Franklin’s favourite invention: the wonderful glass armonica.
Price:  £5.00 per person

Friday Night Special at Benjamin Franklin House
Friday 16th May from 18.00 to 21.00
The museum will be open on Friday the 16th of May from 17.30 to 20.30, so visitors can enjoy a special evening at Benjamin Franklin House.  The Historical Experience will present the excitement and uncertainty of Franklin's London years using rooms where so much took place as staging for a drama which integrates live performance, cutting edge lighting, sound and projection technology.  We will also offer our guests a special talk on forensic archaeology and the bones found at the House and a lecture on Franklin’s favourite invention: the amazing glass armonica.
Wine will be served.
Price:  £10.00 per person

To book for any of the above please call 0207 839 2006 or email

Artist Dejan Kostic Photographs Benjamin Franklin House

Panoramic View of Benjamin Franklin House

As part of his project, 'you either see it, or you don’t,' Dejan Kostic took large scale panoramic photographs of the interiors and exteriors of Benjamin Franklin House. He is aiming to photograph every museum and gallery in London - more than 250 of them.  According to Dejan, "The idea is to have a single picture of every museum and present it as a series of pictures. Once finished, this body of work would represent many faces of London...."

National Science and Engineering Week at Benjamin Franklin House 

National Science and Engineering Week (NSEW) 2008 took place over ten days in March, with 2,000 events throughout the UK in celebration of science, engineering and technology.  NSEW engages people of all ages in fun and diverse educational activities. 

Benjamin Franklin House hosted a free open day during NSEW.  Visitors explored three key Franklin demonstrations from his years at 36 Craven Street in the Student Science Centre. One of the major figures of the Enlightenment, during his years in the House between 1757 to 1775, Franklin made contributions to scientific knowledge and technology.  Accordingly, Benjamin Franklin House holds the distinction of a ‘Milestone in Electrical Engineering and Computing’ facility from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.

NSEW demonstrations


  1. Considered the father of electricity, Franklin coined such terms as ‘battery’ ‘positive/negative’ and ‘charge.'  Visitors discovered how Franklin invented the lightening rod – and that the first in London was erected atop St Paul’s Cathedral!
  2. Glass Armonica
  3. Among his favorite inventions, Beethoven, JS Bach and Mozart all composed for this unique instrument.  Guests had a chance to see and play a Franklin-inspired armonica!
  4. Canals
  5. Following a visit to Holland, Franklin made numerous experiments to discover how to improve ship travel through canals.  Using a scale model, visitors tested Franklin's theories on canal depths!

Art Project

Benjamin Franklin House is currently showcasing art created by students from Surrey Square Primary School (Southwark) and inspired by Franklin in our Grade I building. Our topic this year is Franklin’s Creativity and we provided useful background information and ideas. Everyone got certificates and the paintings will be exhibited at the House until the end of the year.

Franklin ImagePlease click here for more images.

For more information on our Educational programmes please click here.




Benjamin Franklin House Annual RSA Lecture: Heritage and Learning Beyond the Classroom

Barry Sheerman MP, Chairman of the House of Commons Select Committee on Children, Schools and Families, was guest speaker for the first Benjamin Franklin House-RSA Lecture in celebration of Franklin's 302nd birthday on 17 January 2008 - the start of the House's third year as a dynamic museum and educational facility.  The Royal Society of Arts was a fitting location given Franklin's membership and service to the organisation during his many years in London.

Barry, a member of Parliament since 1979, is Chair of the House of Commons committee that considers policy to improve education services and childcare in schools, colleges, and the care sector.  His theme was the importance of engaging young people with cultural heritage, in particular, the benefits for citizenship when we make the experience of key historical figures relevant to young people today. 

He has long been a fan of Benjamin Franklin and highlighted Franklin’s legacy of harnessing personal curiosity and responsibility for a greater good: whether investigating the nature of lightning and distilling his discoveries into the life and property-saving lightning rod or fostering civic institutions like schools, hospitals, and libraries.  This is a legacy, he said, that can inspire young people.

In his career, first as the head of an American studies department at a Welsh university, and then as a Parliamentarian interacting with teachers and other educational experts, Barry stated he discovered that learning outside the classroom is where real learning can take place.  He cited the educational offerings at Benjamin Franklin House as an example of a fresh approach to public education through the Historical Experience and Student Science Centre, which melds the great heritage of the site with the timeless character of the man who called it home for nearly 16 years.

Barry referenced the project he is leading to similarly spur awareness of an intriguing figure from the past through his historic former home: British environmental poet, John Clare's former cottage in Helpston, England, located in Barry's district.  His John Clare Education and Environment Trust is working to conserve the 18th century building and create an international environmental educational centre which shares Clare's respect for the environment with young people and adults.

Benjamin Franklin House Director, Marcia Balisciano, chair of the session, recognised Barry's important message with a quote: "As the historian Karl Weintraub noted, 'I doubt that the study of history provides us with simple lessons.  Its promise is less in easy lessons than in the hope of understanding and wisdom about human affairs.  It can curb our egocentrism, and perhaps it endows us with an essential sense of proportion.  …Our humanity is in its essence historical…we cultivate our humanity when we cultivate our historical sense and consciousness.'”

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Read more about Barry Sheerman

News Archive - 2012

News Archive - 2011

News Archive - 2010

News Archive - 2006

News Archive - 2005

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