5 Places to See Benjamin Franklin Art in Philadelphia

Even today, more than two hundred years after his death, Benjamin Franklin is quite a ubiquitous figure throughout the city of Philadelphia with dozens of monuments, statues, memorials and other works of art scattered throughout the city that the founding father called home for most of his life.

While Franklin once wrote that “Paintings and Fightings are best seen at a distance,” here are five places in the City of Brotherly Love where you can get up close with Benjamin Franklin (or at least artworks featuring his likeness).

1. Philadelphia Museum of Art

Benjamin West painting at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Philadelphia Museum of Art

Benjamin West (1738-1820): Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, ca. 1816

The Philadelphia Museum of Art (2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway) is home to several dozen works relating to Benjamin Franklin, the most recognizable of these is Benjamin West’s Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, which depicts Franklin’s famed kite and key experiment of 1752.

2. Old City

Bust of Benjamin Franklin called Keys to Community
The Franklin Institute

James Peniston (b. 1973): Keys to Community, 2003

Walking along the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia's Old City neighborhood, you are truly walking the same streets as the city’s favorite founding father. Franklins abound in this small community on the eastern edge of Center City, which is home to Independence Hall, The Liberty Bell and Benjamin Franklin’s final resting place, and James Peniston’s Keys to Community, which can be seen next to the fire station at 4th Street and Arch Street, is one of our favorites. Don’t forget to check out the Benjamin Franklin Museum while you are in the neighborhood.

3. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

Painting of Benjamin Franklin by David Martin
Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts

David Martin (1736-1798): Benjamin Franklin, 1767

The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (118-128 North Broad Street) is the first and oldest art museum and art school in the United States having been founded in 1805. It is also home to several works featuring Benjamin Franklin including a famous pre-revolutionary portrait of Franklin. Another version of this painting hangs in the White House.

4. The University of Pennsylvania

Sculpture of Benjamin Franklin on a bench at The University of Pennsylvania
The University of Pennsylvania

George Lundeen (b. 1948): Benjamin Franklin (on a bench), 1987

Founded in part by Benjamin Franklin, The University of Pennsylvania campus in West Philadelphia is home to a number of Franklin works. One of the more popular is George Lundeen’s Benjamin Franklin (on a bench), which remains a popular selfie spot for students and tourists alike.

5. The Franklin Institute

Benjamin Franklin Memorial at The Franklin Institute
The Franklin Institute

James Earle Fraser (1876-1953): Benjamin Franklin Memorial, 1938

The Franklin Institute (222 North 20th Street) is home to the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial and a variety of other objects relating to and featuring Benjamin Franklin. For a full look at all of the objects on display relating to our favorite founding father, check out our Benjamin Franklin Tour of The Franklin Institute to learn more.