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Truly Engaging Facts About the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

Benjamin Franklin National Memorial Facts
The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is located at the Franklin Institute, the most-visited museum and one of the oldest centers of science education and development in the United States. The main attraction of the National Memorial is the colossal statue of Benjamin Franklin, located in the rotunda of the Franklin Institute.
Chandramita Bora
Last Updated: Jul 25, 2017
Did you know?
The Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is one of the few national memorials in the United States which is privately owned.
In the United States, National Memorial is a designation for a protected area, that commemorates a historical event or a person. Located in the Franklin Institute of Philadelphia, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is a tribute to the great inventor and philosopher, and most importantly, one of the founding fathers of the United States.

Benjamin Franklin is considered one of the greatest citizens of the United States for his contribution towards the American revolution. He helped to write a part of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, which contain some of the basic ideas that form the foundation of the United States federal government. Benjamin Franklin was a genius, renowned for several scientific discoveries, including the theories regarding electricity. The National Memorial tries to preserve the memories of this great statesman as well as the historic events in his life.
Interesting Facts about the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial
» The Franklin Institute, where the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is located, is one of the oldest science museums in the United States. The National Memorial is mainly famous for the huge and awe-inspiring statue of Franklin, seated on a pedestal made of white Seravezza marble, imported from Italy.
»The colossal statue of Benjamin Franklin is 20 feet (6.1 m) tall and weighs 30 tons, while the pedestal on which the statue is positioned weighs 92 tons. The statue is the centerpiece of the memorial hall, which was designed by John T. Windrim, an American architect.
» The memorial hall was opened in 1938, and its structure is inspired by the Roman Pantheon. The rotunda is 82 feet in height, width, and length, and its domed ceiling weighs about 1600 tons.
» The statue of Benjamin Franklin was sculpted by James Earle Fraser. It took him almost 5 years (1906 to 1911) to complete the construction.
» The walls, floors, ceilings, pilasters, and the columns of the memorial hall are made of rare marbles. These marbles are imported from Italy, France, and Portugal.
» In 1972, the National Memorial got designated as the official National Memorial of Benjamin Franklin by the United States Congress. Vice President Nelson A. Rockefeller formally dedicated the memorial on April 2, 1976.
» Unlike other national memorials, the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial is not included in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Instead, it is affiliated to the National Park Service, just like the Franklin Institute.
» The memorial is owned and maintained by the Franklin Institute, which receives grants through the Department of the Interior. Grants are usually given for the maintenance and addition of exhibits to the memorial.
» In 2008, the memorial was renovated. A multimedia presentation about Franklin was installed, along with latest LED lighting and improved acoustics. The total cost of the refurbishment was about $3.8 million.
» With the help of its new digital projections, improved lighting, and audio effects, the memorial now features a program called 'Benjamin Franklin Forever'.
» The duration of the 'Benjamin Franklin Forever' program is three and a half minutes. The program basically tries to introduce Benjamin Franklin as a statesman, leader, scientist, and a curious thinker, along with highlighting his accomplishments and their impact on the entire world.
» In order to educate the visitors about Franklin, the memorial has adopted an innovative way. Different quotes by Benjamin Franklin are projected on the walls during the entire day, which gives the visitors a deeper understanding about his life and achievements. Further, graphic panels are used to highlight the accomplishments of this great thinker.
» The Franklin Institute allows free admission to the memorial hall and it is open to visitors at all times when the institute is open.
» An interesting feature of the Franklin Institute is the 'Frankliniana Collection', which includes some of the precious belongings of Benjamin Franklin. This collection includes the barometer which was used by Franklin to measure the postal routes in Philadelphia, the Ceremonial Sword used in the Court of King Louis XVI, 1777 Nini Medallion, and Franklin's 1751 publication of Observations and Experiments On Electricity.
The national monuments and memorials hold within themselves the soul of a nation. They not only throw light on its glorious past but also provide inspiration and hope to work for a better future. The same goes for the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial, which highlights the accomplishments of this great statesman and scientist, and his contribution not only to the United States but to the entire world.