The Franklin Institute reopened last week to the public and even debuted a brand new exhibit. Many have been celebrating by heading to the popular cultural institution located in Fairmount, and for the most part, things will be running the same—just with a few new stipulations to help keep health and safety at the forefront.
“We have been carefully preparing for reopening since the moment our doors closed on March 13, and the entire Franklin Institute is ready to welcome guests in a thoughtful and meaningful way,” said Larry Dubinski, President and CEO of The Franklin Institute in a release. “We are taking a careful and controlled approach to our reopening and have customized the guest experience to continue to deliver engaging science experiences while ensuring we operate safely and responsibly.”
Safety-wise, the popular institution has been taking many measures to make sure that both patrons and employees will be completely secure in the wake of the current pandemic.
According to a release, along with reduced capacity and hourly timed tickets that support physical distancing, other health and safety initiatives include the requirement of appropriate face coverings and no-touch temperature taking for all staff and guests ages three and up. On a more specific note, more cleaning will also be implemented through the placement of antimicrobial films and protective coatings on high-touch surfaces, the removal of unnecessary touchpoints and exhibitry, increased disinfection, modifications being made to office areas for increased staff safety, having outside air permeated through the ventilation system and by offering 20,000 square feet of outdoor space for casual seating.
On a lighter note, a new attraction will be available for all to view when visiting The Franklin Institute. The Presidents by Madame Tussauds features life-size wax figures of every American president, plus seven significant historical figures, including Ben Franklin, Rosa Parks, Malcolm X and Michelle Obama.
According to the release, guests can pose with 56 incredibly lifelike, finely detailed figures in iconic settings with detailed graphics and select props that bring photos vividly to life. They can transport back in time to stand with Martin Luther King, Jr. in front of the Lincoln Memorial and visit with Frederick Douglass in his library. They will take a journey through American history and learn the highs and lows that define each president and the broad trends in technology and society throughout each era. Finally, they will relive the trials and triumphs that set our nation apart and be inspired to help shape our future with their voice and their vote.
“This is a uniquely interactive and immersive experience that is also very relevant and timely. It shines an interesting spotlight on the presidents, adds a layer of science and technology influence, and hopes to leave visitors thinking about how their voice can impact our future come November,” added Dubinski in the release. “It’s at The Franklin Institute, so visitors can expect a very high level of experiential fun, as well, which makes it an ideal exhibit for this summer.”
The Franklin Institute is also offering a modified experience that will feature the core exhibits, but also new enhanced layers of safe and interactive experiences as well.
“This will be an experience that visitors can tailor based on their interests and comfort level,” said Abby Bysshe, Vice President of Experiences in a statement. “Guests can explore exhibit galleries at their own pace, see a show in the Planetarium, and choose from a selection of enhanced experiences led by our science and education teams—they can experience everything or some things. The most important part is that our doors are open, and our science team will be active on the museum floor, eager to make meaningful connections with visitors in an entirely new way.”
Exhibits still open include The Giant Heart, Electricity, Your Brain, Train Factory, Changing Earth, Amazing Machine, Space Command, the Hourly Planetarium Shows, Hourly Live Science Shows and more. A few exhibits will be remaining closed however including the Air Show, SportZone, Tech Studio, Sir Isaac’s Loft, Observatory and the IMAX Theater.
The Franklin Institute will be open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with the last entry allowed at 4 p.m. Advance tickets are required with no fees and run for $23 for adults and $19 for children 3+ (the new Presidents by Madame Tussauds will have a $7 up-charge.) For more information, visit fi.edu