St. Paul, Minnesota

Nov. 27, 2009 - July 4, 2010
Minnesota History Center

Santa Ana, California

Dec. 16, 2010 – Mar. 13, 2011
Bowers Museum

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Apr. 14, 2011 – July 31, 2011
Heinz History Center

Grand Rapids, Michigan

Sept. 2, 2011 – Jan. 8, 2012
Gerald Ford Museum

Washington, D.C.

Febr. 10, 2012 – May 6, 2012
National Archives

Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World

Exhibit Highlights


More than 40 hands-on experiences, including games, experiments, demonstrations, animations, maps and other interactives.

Print Shop

A print shop setting featuring 18th-century equipment and an opportunity to learn how to set type.

Scientific Instruments

Original scientific instruments dating from the time of Franklin, correspondence from Franklin about his electrical experiments and some of Franklin's favorite brainteasers.

1776 "Pennsylvania Constitution"

An original of the 1776 "Pennsylvania Constitution," a model for the U.S. Constitution, with notations in Franklin's own hand. Franklin is the only American to sign all of the founding documents for the United States, including the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution, and the Constitution. Facsimiles of these documents are included in the exhibit.


Artifacts related to Franklin’s inventions – including bifocals, the Franklin stove, the armonica (glass harmonica), microscope – and his activities in publishing, firefighting, postal service, libraries and education, abolition of slavery, and diplomacy and government. Learn more.

Personal Objects

Personal objects such as books (those he wrote and printed as well as read), a chess set, china, furniture, coins and other possessions, many of which have been in the hands of Franklin's descendants and are rarely displayed to the public.

*Photos courtesy of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, photography by Graydon Wood