First opened during the Bicentennial year of 1976, this fun, free indoor-outdoor museum near Independence Hall celebrates the life and times of Philadelphia’s most famous resident, Benjamin Franklin.
The central building is a reconstruction of what Franklin’s original home may have looked like (the architect, Robert Venturi, couldn’t be sure without proper plans and pictures to guide him), and contains a fascinating museum exploring the many interests and accomplishments of the political leader, diplomat, inventor, scientist, printer and more. For fans of American history, the interactive and audio exhibits here paint a detailed picture of Franklin and how he helped shaped his era and country.
On either side of the central building are some of Franklin’s rental properties, including a printing office and book bindery, a newspaper office where Franklin’s son was editor, and a post office. At the latter, where Franklin was once the city’s Postmaster General, you can get a letter or postcard postmarked: “The Benjamin Franklin Post Office.”
A mix of indoor and outdoor exhibits, this complex includes a small archeological site known as the “Fragments of Franklin Court,” the remains of a house built by Benjamin Franklin in 1786. Found at 318 Market Street, Franklin built this house on a site that was very dear to him; in addition to having been the boarding house where he lived when he first arrived in Philadelphia in 1723, it was also where he met his future wife, Deborah – who was then the daughter of the boarding house proprietor.
The printing office and underground museum is open Mon-Fri, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; Sat-Sun, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. The post office is open Mon-Sat, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.