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past Events 2017


Festive Candlelit Tours


Thursday November 30, 6.30pm

         Thursday December 7, 6.30pm 

      Thursday December 21, 6.30pm       

Visitors steped back in time with us, experiencing the House in true eighteenth-century style, with our cosy festive candlelit tours.


Family Day: Children’s Christmas Party

Saturday 9 December, 10.30am


Children discovered the magic of the holiday – 18th century style – with crafts and treats. We sung along to festive classics such as ’Silent Night’ and ’Jingle Bells’ with accompaniment on the glass armonica, Franklin’s musical instrument. We enjoyed mince pies and decked the halls with Christmas crafts that were made and taken home!


Thanksgiving Dinner


Thursday 23 November, 7.30pm 


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

Annual Symposium in association with the British Library’s Eccles Centre for American Studies


Benjamin Franklin in London:  From British Royalist to American Revolutionary


Thursday 16 November, 7pm


George Goodwin, our Author in Residence, followed the publication of his book Benjamin Franklin in London: The British Life of America’s Founding Father with a highly-illustrated and entertaining talk.



 The Lightning Rod: Invention and Contention


Thursday 9 November, 6.30pm


Using exciting science demos, Gemma Smith, Education Manager, explored how one of Franklins most iconic inventions, the Lightning Rod, came about. The personal and political rivalries Franklin faced to get his invention installed throughout London and beyond were revealed.

Museums at Night - Craven Street Bones


Saturday 28 October, 6pm & 8pm


Guests explored the darker side of the 18th century’s pursuit of knowledge with the staff members of Benjamin Franklin House. In exploring  the House visitors discovered why over 1200 bones were unearthed in the basement.



Family Day: Halloween at Benjamin Franklin House


Tuesday 24 October, 4-5pm


Children met Polly Hewson and heard some ghoulishly good Halloween stories followed by gruesome games which included Mummy Bowling, Apple Bobbing and Pick a Pumpkin.

Benjamin Franklin's Network of Innovation  
Thursday 19 October, 6:30pm  
Christian Defeo's gave a fascinating talk on Benjamin Frankin's role in the biggest scientific network of the eighteenth century.  The talk discussed Franklin’s network, who comprised it, and how the network helped him advance the cause of science.  


Eighteenth Century America


Tuesday 10 October, 5:30pm


George Boudreau, Assistant Professor in Eighteenth-Century America at La Salle University in Philadelphia  spoke on Franklin and colonial America. George specialises in the cultural history of early Pennsylvania and runs a summer workshop entitled 'Benjamin Franklin and the American People.'

Colloqium on Slavery  



Saturday 30 September, 10:30am-4pm  

 For Black History Month this year, we collaborated with Newington Green Unitarian Church, whose notable Minister, Richard Price, was a close friend of Benjamin Franklin and a fellow member of the Club of Honest Whigs. In an all-day colloquium we explored the birth of the abolitionist movement and Franklin’s key role in bringing about an end to slavery, women’s involvement with antislavery activism, and the realities of eliminating modern slavery in our globalised economy.


  Open House London
  Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 September
  Open House London is the capitals largest annual festival of architecture and design. This annual event allows the public to cross the threshold of some of Londons most interesting buildings, including Grade I, 1730s Benjamin Franklin House. Half-hourly guided tours took place throughout the day.

Benjamin Franklin and the Opticians


Wednesday 13 September


When not looking at the world through his spectacles, Franklin was corresponding with their makers. He claimed they helped him to understand foreign languages and attract the opposite sex. Neil Handley, from the museum at the College of Optometrists, opened our eyes to this contradictory and controversial facet of Franklins many scientific and business interests.


Family Day: Children's Summer Fete

Summer Fete
  Saturday 5 August

Our annual Summer Fete took place in collaboration with special guests from
the world of heritage, and included activities for all the family. The Fete was
held in the lovely gardens of Leighton House Museum!



Family Day: Bones in the Basement

 Tuesday 25 July

As part of the Festival of Archaeology Benjamin Franklin House welcomed young archaeologists to  and help uncover the history of the House. This Family Programme was suitable for 8-11 year olds but younger siblings were welcome.


Franklin's Singing Bowls: An Evening Featuring the Glass Armonica

  Thursday 13 July

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

Concordia Concert


Thursday 11 July

In keeping with Franklins love of 18th century music, we hosted, in association with our Craven Street neighbours, the Concordia Foundation a programme of music for flute and guitar with Flauguissimo Duo.


2017 Robert H. Smith Lecture: American Democracy in Focus in association with the Eccles Centre for American Studies

Thursday 6 July

 The Rt Hon Andrew Mitchell MP delivered this year's Robert H. Smith Lecture, which focused on the strong history of collaboration between America and Britain on international development. Mitchell expressed the challenages and opportunities the future holds for the two country's common democratic agenda.

Independence Day Party

Tuesday 4 July

Guests enjoyed fizz and a quiz following a tour of 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 Alliance with France, the Treaty Alliance with France, the Treaty of Paris, and The Constitution. The first of these was signed on 4 July 1776, an annual US holiday.



Annual Fulbright Lecture

Benjamin Franklin, Time and the Clockwork of the American Constitution

Thursday 1 June

Benjamin Franklin - the polymath who invented his own clock in the 1750s - joined with the other Framers to organize American politics through numerous notions of time.  Dan Kryder explored Franklin's role in the framing of the Constitution with a particular focus on how "the divine science of politics" used time as a balancing mechanism in the complex Newtonian clockwork of institutional competition and collaboration embedded in the Constitution.

Family Day: Spark your Curiosity

Tuesday 30 May

Our hands-on family day explored the wonders of electricity, including a demonstration of one of Ben Franklin’s most famous, and useful, inventions – the lightning rod! Children were introduced to the basics of electricity through hands-on activities and demonstrations. Projects included a snake charmer out of tissue paper, magic paper balls, and a circuit out of play dough!



Museums at Night – ‘Candle Lit’ Architectural Tours

Thursday 18 & Friday 19 May

The atmospheric rooms of Benjamin Franklin’s only remaining residence were the feature of this night-time architectural tour, highlighting the original features of our Grade I listed Georgian townhouse in evening light.

Franklin and Polly Hewson: A Second Daughter

Monday 15 May

Benjamin Franklin House Director Dr Márcia Balisciano explored Franklin’s relationship with his surrogate family of 16 years at Craven Street, most notably how he became a ‘father’ to the daughter of his Craven Street landlady, Polly Hewson, ensuring an American destiny for her and her descendants.



Science On Stage

Monday 24 April

School children took part in fun and informative sessions which highlighted what became of Franklin’s most important investigations. Special guests captured children’s 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.

Family Day: Georgian Easter Celebration

Tuesday 11 April

Children took part in traditional Georgian Easter celebrations, with a special egg hunt throughout the House.



Family Day: Instrumental Inventions

Tuesday 4 April

Franklin was a prolific inventor and a lover of music .  He  invented the Glass Armonica. Families joined us at the House to explore how and create their own instruments to take home.


Annual Fulbright Lecture:

Coffeehouse & Canvas: Franklin's and Charlie Willson Peale's Botanical Turn

Tuesday 14 March

Benjamin Franklin and Charles Willson Peale shared the enlightenment view about how “useful knowledge” from observation and experimentation in the natural sciences was integral to self and social “improvement.” Judy Bullington presented how enlightenment ideals of this nature percolated through London’s coffeehouse culture, which Franklin famously frequented, to be captured by Peale on canvas.

Listen to Coffeehouse & Canvas



Frankly Speaking! A Benjamin Franklin House Debate Competition in collaboration with the US Embassy in London and Bloomberg

Friday 3 March

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 winner will join students from across Europe and the United States at the Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Summer Institute in America!

Benjamin Franklin: The Founding Father of Open Source?

Thursday 23 February

We were joined by Dr. Christian Defeo who explored how Dr. Franklin’s collaborative, open approach in the development of the lightning rod and Franklin stove presaged a method of innovation which has given us everything from Linux to the products of the Maker Movement.

Watch The Founding Father of Open Source



Family Day: Toys in Franklin’s Time

Tuesday 14 February

Children and parents were invited to discover how children passed the long winter nights with traditional Georgian toys and games.

House 11th and Franklin 311th Open House

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

We celebrated Franklin’s birthday and the 10th anniversary of the opening of Benjamin Franklin House to the public as a dynamic museum and educational facility with an open house, cake and bubbly. Guests discovered more about our current work and big plans for 2016 and beyond, including the new Virtual Georgian Interior.