Group visits are welcome at Benjamin Franklin House. There are a variety of ways for your group to discover the historical and architectural importance of the Grade I listed building and its inhabitants. Please contact us on +44 (0) 207 839 2008 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to discuss specific requirements.
A group visit costs just £6 per person (normal adult admission £7), and usually includes either the Historical Experience or Monday Architectural Tour. The Historical Experience and Tours run at the following times 12, 1, 2, 3.15 and 4.15pm. We can accommodate up to 15 people per Historical Experience or Tour. For larger groups you may need to book consecutive times. Group bookings typically take place on Mondays or Wednesday-Sunday afternoons.
The Historical Experience (Wednesday to Sunday)
The Historical Experience presents the excitement and uncertainty of Franklin’s London years using the rooms he inhabited for nearly sixteen years as staging for a drama which seamlessly integrates live performance, cutting edge lighting and projection technology. With its ‘museums as theatre’ approach, it stands alone among London attractions. The main character is Polly Hewson, daughter of Franklin’s landlady who became a ‘second daughter’ to Franklin. Visitors experience a sense of the complexity of the man and the times in which he lived: food, health, botany, and daily living in the basement kitchen; social and personal relationships, musical inventions and political tension on the ground floor; scientific work, political triumphs and woes, and a hurried return to America in the face of the looming War of Independence on the first floor.
Architectural Tours (Mondays Only)
For those groups for whom the architecture of the historic building is of primary interest, we can arrange a tour of the House with a knowledgeable guide. Thevisit will highlight the Houses original features and provide information on the conservation project which rescued the building from derelictionm, 36 Craven Streets 300 years of its history will come to life, including the preiod of Franklin’s residence.
The Glass Armonica
Following the Historical Experience or Tour we are happy to offer your group a short complimentary demonstration of Franklin's musical invention, the Glass Armonica.
Franklin invented the glass armonica in 1761, after seeing Edmund Delaval play water filled wine glasses in Cambridge in 1758. Franklin’s armonica, capable of creating more harmonies within the actual melody, consisted of 37 bowls mounted on an iron spindle, which could be turned by means of a foot-operated treadle, and played with moistened fingers. Mozart, Beethoven, and many others composed works on the armonica, although by the early 19th century, suspicion that the ethereal music could drive performers mad caused a decline in the instrument’s popularity. Visitors will have the chance to play our replica of this intriguing intrument.