|A Day with Ben Franklin|
by Stormy on May 19, 2007
A printer, a civic leader, a scientist, a public servant, a statesman. Franklin did a lot. His life changed our lives as Franklin continuously considered what can be done to make life better.
The advertisement read, "inventor, scientist, diplomat, nudist..." I probably wouldn't go to just any show that advertised this, but this was all about Benjamin Franklin and in my mind America had three great innovators – Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Edison. These are the men who dared think about applying technology to human lives, who toiled in their laboratories and found ways to understand our environment and improve our lives. They questioned nature when most people simply attributed the events around them to an act of God.
The Denver Museum of Nature and Science had been running an exhibit for the 300th anniversary of Benjamin Franklin's birth for a number of months now and this was the last weekend of the show. Instead of saying, "I'll make it out there," this morning I got my stuff and headed to the museum.
The Franklin exhibit occupied the third floor special exhibits area, although it was not densely packed like other exhibits have been in the past. I was disappointed that no photography was allowed and that included cell phones. It wasn't an issue of flashes against sensitive surfaces of old documents. They just didn't want the visitors to have any pictures of anything.
The exhibit followed Franklin's life from the little house his was born inn to his work as a printer, where he made his fortune, to entry into high society, philanthropic interests, social innovations, scientific experiments and eventual involvement in politics and the American Revolution. When considered as individual events, almost everything that Franklin did would make him stand out as a pioneer in that field, but when set side by side, Franklin's accomplishments practically elevate him into a rare class of thinkers and innovators who claim that nothing is impossible and then successfully act on that claim.
From prior reading I knew a lot of what I saw at the exhibit, but it was also exciting to stand next to the artifacts of Franklin's life, to look at his diaries and follow his reasoning for why things work the way they do. I must say, I should not have waited until the show's final weekend. As for Franklin being a nudist? The exhibit skipped over that part. Perhaps that's for the better, too. I didn't really want to see an image of a naked chubby old dude reclining leisurely in a meadow.