Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr Day as well as the second inauguration of President Obama. Clark had no school so in the afternoon we drove to Philadelphia to go to the Franklin Institute. I was bummed to not be watching the inauguration, but, like old-timey people, we listened on the radio. It was actually pretty cool to have the four of us in the car listening live to the inauguration and the President’s speech. I’m sure when Tabby’s grown she won’t remember it, but I hope that Clark will be able to remember it. I found it very moving.
We had spent some time the night before talking about Martin Luther King, Jr., whom both kids had heard about in school. Thus, when we arrived at the Franklin Institute and were waiting on the very long line to get in (apparently the whole world thought it would be a good idea to go there that day) it was really, really cool to be standing in the big marble atrium where there’s a big statue of Ben Franklin, and see a film of Dr King’s speech being projected on the walls. It was somehow very moving to be with a big group of people seeing that. I felt like the whole day was filled with lessons on civic, ethics, government, and history. And then we explored science!
I had been to this museum at least once as a kid, but haven’t been there since. I mostly remembered the iconic big heart that you can walk through. It definitely looked kind of old and I didn’t remember it being quite so narrow and claustrophobic. And then it turned out that someone in front of us threw up so there was that to try to step over in the tiny corridor!
If you’re not familiar with the Franklin Institute it is a very hands-on science museum. There is lots about Ben Franklin and his experiments and knowledge seeking. Ben is one of my favorite historical figures. Yes, I know he was a bit of a ladies man and who knows what he was like in person, but I adore his inventions and zest for learning. Of course you know about his experiments with the kite and key and lightning? Here’s Tabby’s reaction after touching the key:
Zap! The static electricity experiments were a lot of fun and we zapped each other quite sharply several times!
I also really liked the optical illusions section. Here’s Clark’s reaction after staring at a black and white spinning spiral for 15 seconds and then looking out the window at the buildings:
(in case you’re wondering…the buildings appear to expand and contract. It’s crazy.)
We really had a good day exploring, learning, and having fun.