Museum Closure

The New-York Historical Society will close at 3pm on November 26 and remain closed through November 27. For details, please visit our calendar.

Happy 307th Birthday, Benjamin Franklin!

Family Program
Happy 307th Birthday, Benjamin Franklin!
Sun, January 13th, 2013 | 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Ages 4 and up

Celebrate Ben! Benjamin Franklin was an inventor, statesman, thinker, and of course, one of our Founding Fathers. Discover his many modern inventions and then see and hear one up close -- Franklin’s glass armonica! Played by Cecilia Brauer, this rare instrument creates different notes through touching glass tubes filled with varying levels of water. Explore Franklin’s nautical side with Stephen Willson from the Benjamin Franklin House, and build and test boats in these buoyancy challenges. Next, be inspired by proverb plates in the New-York Historical Society’s collection and add a Benjamin Franklin proverb to your own decorative plate to take home. And don’t forget to have some birthday cake!

Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta
Macy’s Sunday Story Time
11:30 am
Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library
In this story program for young visitors, learn more about Ben Franklin -- amazing inventor, Founding Father, and all around cool guy.

Glass Armonica with Cecilia Brauer
1–4pm
Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library
Meet Cecilia Brauer, one of the few musicians who play this rare and delicate glass instrument. Ms. Brauer will play musical selections, answer questions, and let kids get up close with the glass armonica throughout the afternoon. Wearing a Revolutionary War-era costume, Ms. Brauer recreates the look and sound of Franklin’s time for all ages!

Decorate Your Own Proverb Plate
1–4 pm
DCHM Classroom
Choose from one of Benjamin Franklin’s many proverbs -- simple sayings that express common sense. Franklin was famous for these, publishing many in his annual Poor Richard’s Almanac. Use the proverb and your creativity to decorate your own plate to take home. Which proverb will you choose?

Necessity never made a good bargain.
Be slow in choosing a friend, slower in changing.
Being ignorant is not so much a shame as being unwilling to learn.
Fish and visitors stink in three days.

307th Birthday Cake
1–4 pm
DCHM Classroom
Help us blow out the candles and say thanks to this unique Founding Father. Make sure to have a piece!

Keep it Afloat! With Stephen Wilson
Presented by the Benjamin Franklin House, London, UK

1–4 pm
DCHM Classroom
Test your boat-making skills and see whose vessel can stay afloat the longest! Benjamin Franklin crossed the Atlantic Ocean eight times in his life, charted the Gulf Stream, and investigated canals. He was clearly a man who loved the sea, and as a child he wanted to work on a ship. For this activity, children will make small boats out of paper and other simple materials, aiming to build sturdy vessels that can stay afloat for the longest time or while holding the greatest weight. The activity will demonstrate scientific concepts of ballast, weight distribution and buoyancy in this hands-on (and wet!) challenge.


About the Armonica
Benjamin Franklin invented the armonica (or glass harmonica) in 1761 and was said to be inspired by a concert he attended where water in wine glasses were used to perform music. Glass bowls are mounted along a horizontal dowel and the musician plays the rotating bowls using moistened fingers. Famous composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and Strauss wrote pieces to be played on it, and until the mid-1800s the armonica was an incredibly popular instrument. It fell out of favor with charges of evoking spirits of the dead with its haunting sounds, and was only recently rediscovered.


Benjamin Franklin House, London, UK
These programs were inspired by the programming at the Benjamin Franklin House in London, UK. If Benjamin Franklin, a master of creative thinking, were to design a museum and education facility, it would be this one. For Benjamin Franklin House is about the future. True to Franklin, who said he’d been born too soon, it celebrates innovation and enlightenment. The world’s only remaining Franklin home located just steps from London’s Trafalgar Square—which opened to the public for the first time on Franklin’s 300th birthday in 2006—is setting a new standard in cultural heritage.

 

Creative: Tronvig Group