Benjamin Franklin Life & Legacy Museum
Franklin Court consists of 5 restored historic structures (printing office, newspaper office, archeology exhibit, Post Office and Eastern National store) along Market Street, a courtyard landscape designed by Venturi and Rauch (1976)that includes ghost structures describing Franklin's home and print shop, and an underground biographical museum dedicated to Benjamin Franklin. NPS opened the museum in 1976. Independence National Historical Park's 1997 General Management Plan calls for the rehabilitation of the museum, the installation of new exhibits, and the installation of improved exterior signage.
Remodeling the museum will involve the installation of all new interpretive exhibits and the reconfiguration of internal space, including structural alterations to the building above and below grade. The project will remove the awning and supporting posts along the west entrance to the museum and replace them with a glass pavilion. The ramp that communicates between the courtyard and the museum will be replaced with stairs. A ranger desk will greet visitors at courtyard level. A new gift shop will also be installed at courtyard level.
The project will also replace the failing HVAC system, security, fire detection and suppression systems, upgrade lighting and electrical systems. The remodeled museum and new exhibits will meet all accessibility requirements and enhance interpretive programming and the visitor experience.
This is a partnership project, funded in part by the NPS Centennial Challenge program. The Pew Charitable Trusts has committed $6 million and will raise an additional $6 million. NPS will contribute $6 million for a total project cost of $18 million.
The underground museum does not contribute to the National Register of Historic Places significance of the park.
Doris Fanelli, Chief
Division of Cultural Resources Management
Independence National Historical Park
143 South Third Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103