During this current ‘new normal,’ many Philly establishments have come up with creative solutions to help keep people entertained, informed and of course, hopeful—including the Franklin Institute.
The popular Philly museum has taken the opportunity to craft virtual and at-home experiences that all Philadelphians can enjoy while social distancing. Franklin@Home is designed to keep viewers connected during this precarious time, which, as we all know is quite paramount.
“As one of the leading science centers in the country and a prominent cultural resource, our primary commitment right now is to provide continuous science engagement, on all platforms, to an even wider range of audiences at a time when science matters most,” said Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute in a release.
Franklin@Home features a variety of colorful virtual experiences. Take #FranklinOutside, a weekly Facebook live event (Wednesdays, 3 p.m.) that offers Philadelphians a little taste of nature right in their homes. Environmental Scientist Rachel Valletta leads an ongoing nature scavenger hunt while enlisting fans to find photos of specific discoveries in nature, then on Facebook Live, viewers get a chance to show the hidden natural treasures they’ve found and the experiences they’ve had while outdoors— including most recently on how to remove spotted lanternfly eggs.
NightSkies@Home also features the outdoors. Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts hosts a weekly Facebook Live event (Thursdays, 7:45 p.m.) where viewers are able to reach for the stars by engaging in the night-time guided sky tour. If you’re in the mood for something a bit more spirited however, you are also in luck. The Science Happy Hour @ The Search Bar features FI staff scientists raising a glass to science, moderated and guided by the Institute’s resident staff bartender. Everyone (of age) is invited to join in through Instagram Live (Fridays, 5:30 p.m.)
If you’re looking to be a bit more informed on COVID-19 (knowledge is power, right?) then check out the FI’s COVID-19 Q&A where Chief Bioscientist Jayatri Das explains the latest and takes questions in this weekly Facebook Live event (Mondays, 3 p.m.)
For the younger audience (ages 3-10), check out Science+Stories where according to the release, while live on Zoom, staff educators lead a science activity and book reading exclusively for Franklin Institute Members (Wednesdays, 11 a.m.)
Franklin@Home also features science blogs highlighting current news from expert staff scientists, science recipes offering Philadelphians tips on at-home science activities using common household items, virtual museum tours (including one of the Giant Heart), an interactive challenge called CaptionThis! where viewers caption some of the best photos of the FI’s Curatorial Collections, plus an expansion on the existing popular science video series #SparkofScience@home with new digestible videos created by educators from home on topics including hand washing, bike gears and buoyancy.
Philadelphians can also stay tuned for a new virtual experience for Franklin@Home coming soon. The #myhomemuseum challenge will be a lighthearted challenge for fans and collectors at any age or experience level. Participants will have the chance to open their doors and show off their own personal treasured collection, whatever that may be—more information on #myhomemuseum will be made available soon.
Aside from providing entertainment at home, the Franklin Institute has also been utilizing its expert staff and resources to help make an impact for the city during this uncertain time.
According to a release, The Franklin Institute has launched a 3D Printing for Health Care initiative that will produce face shield visor bands to be deployed locally to hospitals and healthcare workers as part of a citywide effort in collaboration with CoverAid PHL. The Institute currently has all 6 of its 3D printers running from the homes of trained staff. Those who want to learn more can also check out Senior Vice President of Science and Education, Dr. Darryl Williams’ blog. Williams, who is also an engineer, explains more about Additive Manufacturing in a Time of Necessity in his current post.
Although the Franklin Institute has been able to creatively continue its mission to “inspire a passion for learning about science and technology,” being a nonprofit, it has also felt the effects quite harshly from the current pandemic. Anyone interested in donating to the popular Philly cultural institution can learn more on how by visiting fi.edu/support-why-give.
For more general information on the Franklin Institute, visit fi.edu.