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past Events 2014

Family Day: Children’s Christmas Party
Saturday 13 December, 10.30am-12pm

With Christmas just around the corner, children discovered the magic of the holiday – 18th century style – with crafts and treats. They sang along to festive classics such as ’Silent Night’ and ’Jingle Bells’ with accompaniment on the Glass Armonica, Franklin’s musical instrument. The children also enjoyed mince pies and decked the halls with a Christmas wreath!

Annual Friends and Neighbours Christmas Party

Wednesday 10 December, 6-8pm

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

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

Thursday 27 November, 7.30pm

An American Thanksgiving feast with all the trimmings was held at the magnificent Clothworkers’ Hall. Roast turkey (and stuffing and vegetables and of course pumpkin pie) were 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.

Open House London
Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 September, 10.30am-4pm

Open House London is the capital’s largest annual festival of architecture and design. This annual event invited 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 took place throughout the day.

Annual Symposium in association with the Eccles Centre: Alan Rusbridger
LOCATION: The British Library Conference Centre, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Monday 8 September, 6.30pm

As our 2014 Symposium speaker, Alan Rusbridger, Editor-in-Chief of Guardian News & Media, shared his views on freedom of the press. During his editorship the paper has fought a number of high-profile battles over press freedom and libel, including cases involving Neil Hamilton, Jonathan Aitken, the Police Federation, Trafigura, and Wikileaks. The Guardian broke world exclusive stories by publishing NSA documents leaked by Edward Snowden.

Family Day: Big Ben Stamp Act
Tuesday 26 August, 11am and 2pm
In honour of his role as the first Postmaster General of the US Postal Service and his many other achievements in science, innovation, and diplomacy, Benjamin Franklin has often featured on postage stamps around the world. As the holidays draw to a close, children enjoyed a tour of Benjamin Franklin House in the company of Polly Hewson, daughter of Franklin’s landlady. They then created their own stamp postcard to Polly to share highlights of their summer adventures.

Family Day: Children’s Summer Fete – Print This!
Saturday 9 August, 11am-4pm
Location: Leighton House Museum, 12 Holland Park Rd, London W14 8LZ

For our annual Summer Fete we collaborated with special guests from the world of heritage including Leighton House Museum, Charles Dickens Museum, the Ragged School Museum, Dr Johnson’s House. Activities included Print This! – a workshop for all the family exploring Franklin’s contribution to printing, which allowed participants to print their own message, picture, or sign using everyday objects. The Fete was held in the gardens of Leighton House Museum.

Glass Armonica

A Musical Evening: Franklin's Glass Armonica
Monday 4 August, 6pm

In 1762, Franklin premiered his new musical invention, the glass armonica which had been devised a year earlier at 36 Craven Street. Ethereal sounds are produced from rotating glass bowls which inspired compositions by Mozart, Beethoven, (JC) Bach, and more recently, rock musicians like Jarvis Cocker and Damian Albarn. House Operations Manager, Sally James, talked about the fascinating history of the glass armonica and performed excerpts from pieces written for the instrument.

Family Day: Festival of British Archaeology – Bones in the Basement
Tuesday 29 July, 11am

Children explored the House’s fascinating archaeological history. They discovered why human bones were found in the basement and the story they tell about the history of medicine. Led by House Education Manager, Stephen Wilson.

Bones in basement

Concordia Logo

Concordia Concert
Thursday 24 July
, 7pm
We hosted 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. Harpist, Elizabeth McNulty, performed works by Bach, Handel, Mozart and more.


Annual Benjamin Franklin House Science Fair
Tuesday 8 July, 1.30pm

Science Fair allows children to develop skills associated with scientific enquiry, helping them become autonomous thinkers and creative problem solvers. They are encouraged to develop their own responses to problems Franklin considered at Craven Street, such as how to get more heat from less fuel. Young people created and displayed their own experiments at in-school Science Fairs, with winning entries going
forward to this mid-year gathering.

Science Fair

Independence Day Party
Friday 4 July, 12-2pm

Guests joined us for a celebration of US Independence Day at Benjamin Franklin House. We enjoyed 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 signed on 4 July 1776, formalising the separation of the 13 colonies from British rule, is celebrated annually with a US national holiday.

Doughnuts! Yum


Benjamin Franklin House Medal for Leadership Ceremony and Dinner
Monday 16 June, 7pm
LOCATION: The Mansion House, London EC4N 8BH

We awarded the inaugural Medal for Leadership to Michael Bloomberg. The Medal recognises extraordinary individuals following in Franklin’s footsteps who exemplify great vision, crosscultural understanding and tolerance, effectiveness, and intellectual rigour. In public service and business, the Mayor Bloomberg epitomises these Franklin virtues and more.

Robert H. Smith Lecture in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies: 'America & Britain in the 21st century'
LOCATION: The British Library, Terrace Restaurant (1st Floor), 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Thursday 29 May, 6.30pm

Sir Nigel Sheinwald, former Ambassador to the United States, discussed America's and Britain's changing roles in the world. He explained why a strong transatlantic relationship nevertheless remains important, and why
international engagement by both countries remains in their and the rest of the world's interests. The lecture honours American philanthropist, Robert H. Smith, a key supporter of Benjamin Franklin House, who was
passionate about the roots and reach of American democracy.

Nigel Sheinwald

Georgian Homes

Family Day: Georgian Homes
Tuesday 27 May, 11am

As part of National Family Week we hosted our Georgian homes workshop. Benjamin Franklin House was built circa 1730. How are our homes different today? We found out in a fun session for kids big and small, during which everyone's help was needed to build a street of 3D, model Georgian terraces like 36 Craven Street.
£5 per child, free for adults

Dr Vivian Montegomery

Museums at Night – The Retirement of a Georgian Prodigy and Lady Organist
Thursday 15 May, 6.30pm

Dr. Vivian Montgomery explored an extraordinary period of professional activity among England’s lady organists, focusing on the high profile life of 18th century performer and entrepreneur, Martha Greatorex. We heard recorded excerpts of Greatorex’s music performed on an early 19th century English piano by Dr. Montgomery, an award-winning harpsichordist and fortepianist, currently in residence as a Fulbright Senior Research Scholar at the University of Southampton.
£5/£3.50 Friends and concessions

Annual Science Day
LOCATION: The British Library, 96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB

Friday 2 May, 10.30am
School children took part in fun and informative sessions which highlighted what became of Franklin’s most important investigations. Special guests captured our attention with experiments that popped, illuminated, and crackled, showing how Franklin’s 18th century explorations have led to some of today’s most important technologies. This event was suitable for Years 3-6.
Free – schools booking required

Science Day

Family Day: 18th Century Toy Workshop
Tuesday 22 April, 11am

We discovered how Georgian children entertained themselves through long winters. We made 18th century toys, such as whirligigs, optical illusions, and cup-and-ball!
£5 per child, free for adults

Toy Workshop

Georgian Games! Fun!

Family Day: Georgian Games
Tuesday 15 April, 11am

We played 18th century games that no doubt delighted children on Craven Street in years past, including quoits, marbles, and stringed cat’s cradles.
£5 per child, free for adults


Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition in collaboration with the US Embassy in London
Wednesday 12 March, 2-6pm LOCATION: US Embassy London, 24 Grosvenor Square, London W1A 2LQ
To encourage tomorrow’s thinkers today, we proudly hold an annual Benjamin Franklin Fellowship Debate Competition for upper secondary school students, in collaboration with the US Embassy London. The 2014 winner, Henna Patel, will join students from across Europe and the United States at the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute!

Family Day: Float Ben's Boat!
Tuesday 18 February, 11am
Franklin crossed the Atlantic Ocean eight times in his life, charted the Gulf Stream, and investigated canals. Using the limited materials provided, children constructed a model boat that Franklin would have been proud to have built to sail across the Atlantic on, and which can stay afloat holding as much weight as possible! Suitable for 7-14 year olds.

Boat Challenge

House 8th and Franklin 387th Birthday Celebration
Friday 17 January, 6pm-8pm

We celebrated Benjamin Franklin’s 308th birthday and the 8th anniversary of the opening of Benjamin Franklin House to the public as a dynamic museum and educational facility. Supporters and friends joined us for cake and bubbly.

Frankin bday