Honors Showcase: Franklin Exhibit Proposal

Hey all!  These are what I singled out from Franklin’s life that we can decide what to make exhibits for.

  • The family business: Soap making
  • Franklin as a Printer
    • As apprentice or master printer
  • Silence Dogood
    • Have examples of satirical articles and explaining what they mean/historical relevance
  • Electricity experiment
  • Franklin as politician
    • Treaty of Paris
    • Declaration of Independence
    • What was Franklin’s role?
  • Present day significance of Franklin
    • Fire department
    • Libraries
    • $100 bill
    • Batteries
    • etc.
  • Franklin Misconceptions

Boston-Franklin Scavenger Hunt

The Abiel Smith School, funded by philanthropist Abiel Smith, was the first public school for freed black children in the United States.  It was constructed directly next door to the African Meeting house, creative a community for freed African Americans in Boston.  The Abiel Smith School is a National Historic Landmark, and also part of the Boston Black Heritage Trail.

Louisburg square was named after the Battle of Louisburg, where a force of colonial militiamen, with the help of the British fleet and commanded by William Pepperell, a native of Kittery, captured the capital of the French colonial town of Louisburg in modern day Nova Scotia during King George’s War. The square has a statue of Columbus at one end and of Aristides the Just at another.

John Kerry owns a town house in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Louisburg Square. He served in Vietnam, being awarded the Silver Star medal, the Bronze Star medal, and three purple hearts. He served on the United States Senate from 1984-2008. He ran for president in 2004 and lost to incumbent George H.W. Bush. In 2013, he was appointed to Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.

Horace Mann was a member of the Massachusetts State legislator and served on the Massachusetts State Board of Education. His life’s work was universal public education system and he began building schools on Massachusetts. He argued that in order to train unruly children to become respectable and responsible citizens, they must be sent to school and receive an education. Most states ended up adopting his system and soon, his idea of education for all spread across the nation.

Boston Common was established in 1634 and originally served the purpose of allowing farmers to bring their cattle to graze. However, the number of cows was limited to seventy, as the cattle were overgrazing American’s oldest city park. Mayor Harrison Gray Otis banned farmers from allowing their cattle to graze on the Common in 1830. Before the American Revolution, British troops camped on the Common, from which they marched to Lexington and Concord in 1775.

The Central Burying Ground was established in 1756 and has notable burials of Gilbert Stuart and William Billings. Gilbert Stuart was an artist who painted both George and Martha Washington’s portraits. The incomplete portrait of George Washington is used on US one dollar bill for over a century and various postage stamps from the ninetieth and twentieth century.

The statue of Benjamin Franklin at Old City Hall has four plaques representing different eras of his life.  Two of these plaques illustrate Franklin’s political aspect of his life, including his involvement in the creating and signing of the Declaration of Independence, as well as the Treaty of Paris.

The Boston Athenaeum was founded in 1807 as an independent library, where members must pay a subscription to use its facilities and resources. It houses over one hundred thousand rare books,   and an art collection of 100,000 paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, and decorative arts. One of its most priceless artifacts is a bust of Benjamin Franklin, sculpted by Jean-Antoine Houdon, a famous French sculpture who created sculptures of Benjamin Franklin, Voltaire, and Napoleon Bonaparte.


David Viviano
Matt Borges
Ian Ryan
Kaylee Lampert
Katie Flores
Mikhail Bryan
Alex Marcus

Honors Showcase – Layout/Timeline

IMG_20160406_234707 (1)

Matt and I thought that this design would be a good general layout for the showcase.  Each exhibit would portray a different part of Franklin’s life in a creative way.  The exhibits would be in chronological order to help the viewers get a better sense of Franklin’s life.

The number of exhibits in the drawing is not the actual number of exhibits, but rather a concept design.  This layout is also based on a lecture room with staggered rows.

We are still piecing together the timeline, and will have it ready for Tuesday.

Benjamin Franklin – Beer, God, and America

Benjamin Franklin has been accredited for famous quotes involving freedom, liberty, and innovation, but one of his more known quotes regards none of the latter, but instead the alcoholic beverage we all love or hate – beer.  Breweries and street vendors in Massachusetts and across the United States have no problem selling you a shirt or sign with the quote, “Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy”, while claiming that one of the greatest Americans to live, Benjamin Franklin, was its origin.  Unfortunately for those who may have purchased one of these items, the quote may not actually come from Franklin.

According to numerous sources, including Anchors Brewing, a San Francisco based brewing company, there is no historical evidence that Ben Franklin is the source of the quote.  The only evidence of this quote comes from Wikipedia, brewing companies selling merchandise, and street vendors that scatter the streets of Boston – Franklin’s birthplace.  Anchors Brewing writes, “Although he enjoyed beer—especially small beer, perfect for long sessions devoted to discussions of political philosophy, economic theory, science, and the arts—Ben Franklin was first and foremost a great lover of wine.”  There is significant historical records that show Franklins love of wine, and possibly how a quote pertaining to wine may have adapted into the quote about beer.  Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, “Behold the rain which descends from heaven upon our vineyards, and which incorporates itself with the grapes to be changed into wine; a constant proof that God loves us, and loves to see us happy!”  It is easy to see how, maybe after a few drinks, the final part of Franklin’s quote about wine could be manipulated to talk about beer.

Through this evidence it is safe to say that Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote about beer is not actually Franklin’s quote.  Instead, this quote is either a product of someone trying to make money selling t-shirts and bar signs, or a simple mistake based on other quotes from Franklin.  With this myth disproved, people will hopefully stop spreading false history, while also saving a few dollars at the brewery.






“An Edict by the King of Prussia” – 1773

David Viviano, Matt Borges, Ian Ryan


Benjamin Franklin wrote “An Edict by the King of Prussia” for Philadelphia’s Public Advertiser in September of 1773.  This satirical article mocks the dominating relationship that Great Britain held over the Colonies by paralleling the illogical relationship between Prussia and Great Britain.  Franklin, from a Prussian point of view, highlights the restrictions and laws that Prussia intends to impose on Britain.  These laws are implemented as compensation for funding the Seven Years War, and for populating England with Prussian citizens.  Through this article, Franklin illustrates the overreach and power of Great Britain to the public.

Writing as the King of Prussia, Franklin suggests new laws be implemented against Britain.  One specific law was to tax merchandise being imported or exported from Britain.  Franklin wrote, “We do hereby ordain, that all Ships or Vessels bound from Great Britain to any other Part of the World, or from any other Part of the World to Great Britain, shall in their respective Voyages touch at our Port of KONINGSBERG, there to be unladen, searched, and charged with the said Duties.”  This law, being proposed by Franklin as the King of Prussia, correlates to similar laws being imposed on the American colonies.  Colony ships were forced to navigate to Great Britain in order for inspections to be performed and taxes to be issued.  The King of Prussia also proposes that all natural resources, procedures of production, and specific products of Britain belong to Prussia.  The King’s declaration states:

     And WHEREAS there have been from Time to Time discovered in the said              Island of Great Britain by our Colonists there, many Mines or Beds of Iron              Stone…But We are nevertheless graciously pleased to permit the Inhabitants of      the said Island to transport their Iron into Prussia, there to be manufactured,        and to them returned, they paying our Prussian Subjects for the                                Workmanship, with all the Costs of Commission, Freight and Risque coming          and returning, any Thing herein contained to the contrary                                          notwithstanding.

This law, pertaining to laws imposed on the American colonies, takes away valuable resources, removes production jobs, and costs the colonists more money in fees and taxes.  This edict proposed by Prussia, if legitimate, would have been protested vehemently by the citizens and government of Great Britain.  Similarly, the people of the American colonies, whom actually faced these mandates, should express their opposition to the overreach of the British government.

As a devout patriot, Benjamin Franklin took notice of the oppressive nature of British rule.  He, as well as other colonists, were upset with unjust laws sanctioned by Britain.  Such laws include the Stamp Act, Tea Act, Quartering Act, and Navigation Acts – laws that restricted the colonies ability to operate freely and provide for their well-being.  This tyrannical approach led colonists to produce satirical works and propaganda to encourage the people to stand up for their rights, ultimately leading to the start of the Revolutionary War.

Silence Dogood Essay #12

Ben Franklin, under the pseudonym of Silence Dogood, wrote a series of essays for the New-England Courant.  His twelfth essay, released in September of 1722, pertains to the “Vice of Drunkeness,” or the pastime of being intoxicated.  Franklin writes from an anti-alcohol perspective, while still trying to appease those that drink by including minor examples beneficial effects, even if they are exaggerated or sarcastic.

Franklin’s essay begins with examples of how alcohol can be both beneficial and detrimental to a person’s character.  For example, he states that alcohol sometimes helps people become more charismatic.  He writes, “Some who cannot ordinarily talk but in broken Sentences and false Grammar, do in the Heat of Passion express themselves with as much Eloquence as Warmth.”  Franklin then proposes the non-desirable effects of alcohol when he writes, “’Tis
strange to see Men of a regular Conversation become rakish and profane when intoxicated with Drink.”  Franklin continues his pattern by giving another positive effect of drinking when claiming, “Dic. Ponder discovers an excellent judgment when he is inspir’d with a Glass or two of Claret.”  This example once again affirms positivity towards alcohol, that is, until Franklin continues with a counter-argument.  The quote continues, “… but he passes for a Fool among those of small Observation, who never saw him the better for Drink.”  By making a fool out of himself due to his alcohol, the example of “excellent judgment” is nullified.  For most of Franklin’s examples that favor alcohol, he provides a counter-example against it.  This conveys a negative attitude towards alcohol.

Any positivity towards alcohol is quickly followed by the detrimental effects.  Franklin uses this style to show that intoxication may cause short term benefits – like increased charisma and excellent judgment – but generally leads to a downfall – such as rackish conversation and foolishness.  This technique is effective, as it highlights the negatives of drinking that exceed the positives.  Franklin’s view on alcohol, through the words of Silence Dogood, accurately represent the virtues he sought to follow.  To Franklin, practicing temperance made him a better man.  Due to this, he spread his ideas through Silence Dogood.

Benjamin Franklin Statue – Old City Hall


This statue of Benjamin Franklin, located at the Old City Hall, features Ben Franklin and some of his most famous moments in United States history.  On one side of the statue is a picture of Franklin in a printing shop.  Franklin grew up as a printing apprentice to his brother in Boston, but eventually created a successful printing business of his own in Philadelphia.  Another picture on the statue shows Franklin drafting the Declaration of Independence.  His political career is further represented by a picture of him signing the Treaty of Peace and Independence.  This signified the end of the Revolutionary War.  Finally, on the back side of the statue, Ben Franklin’s scientific background is portrayed with a picture of him discovering electricity with his famous kite experiment.