Special Project Support

In addition to The Franklin Institute’s ongoing operations and programming, generous support from donors helps the Institute to offer fresh and innovative programs.

Think Music—$3.5 millionREAD MORE

Think Music is a 5,000-square-foot interactive exhibition that will engage a broad and diverse audience in learning about the connections between music and the human brain. Think Music draws inspiration from Your Brain—The Franklin Institute's newest core exhibit that offers a personal exploration of our changing brain.

In Think Music, visitors will:

  • Use their brains to create and enjoy musical experiences
  • Learn how their brain processes sound and music
  • Discover how music influences emotional perception
  • Appreciate the cognitive and therapeutic benefits of music

Think Music will be produced by The Franklin Institute, with input from peer institutions involved in the Science Museum Exhibit Collaborative (SMEC) and local arts and cultural institutions.

The exhibition will premiere in Philadelphia and then extend to a broader audience through its travel to a number of the Institute's peer institutions--including SMEC partners in Los Angeles at the California Science Center and in Boston at the Museum of Science. At all venues, the exhibit will reach students, teachers, and families who will enjoy social learning experiences as they engage with personal and collaborative music composition, appreciation, and performance. The science content of interactive devices in aligned with educational standards in physical science, life science, and science and technology, especially for students grades 4-8.

Think Music will open to the public in April 2017. To learn more, please call 215.448.1173.

Space Command Renovation—5,300 square feet / Additional funds needed: $6 millionREAD MORE

By using our own planet and solar system as entry points to a larger discussion about the cosmos, visitors will gain an understanding of the origin, evolution, structure, and likely ultimate fate of the universe, as well as the natural laws that keep it in order. The reimagined exhibit will convey the stunning magnitude of space, the vibrancy of celestial bodies, and the awesome ability of modern imaging technology to make a vast array of cosmic phenomena accessible to even the casual observer. Photographs and digital representations of the cosmos will not be simply presented to visitors but rather offered as opportunities for direct interaction. Some visitors may guide themselves on a tour of outer space using a digital touch screen connected to a library of stunning NASA images; others will perhaps explore the International Space Station without ever leaving their earth-bound seats.

The next iteration of Space Command will also explore how humanity’s deepening comprehension of our own sun is helping scientists better understand the dynamics of other solar systems. Aiming to introduce casual sky-gazers to the incredible experience of backyard astronomy, the exhibit will also feature take-away tools to facilitate space investigation from home, or any place the visitor wants to go to explore.

Reimagining Space Command will provide an opportunity for the Institute and Chief Astronomer Derrick Pitts to scale up many of their existing astronomy-related community initiatives, which have helped Philadelphians reconnect with the night sky for more than 30 years.

Space Command exhibit at the Franklin Institute.

Your Brain Interactive Naming Opportunities / $100,000–$1,000,000READ MORE

The new core exhibit Your Brain, presented by Teva Pharmaceuticals, will be housed in the Frank Baldino, Jr. Gallery in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. With more than 70 interactive devices, Your Brain presents a rich array of ways for visitors to use their brains to learn about the brain.

There are many opportunities to name interactives in the Your Brain exhibit. Please see the brief sample of possibilities provided below, and for more information contact Julie Appolloni March, Vice President of Development, at 215-448-1157.

Read the Faces
Visitors see images of people of different ages and ethnicities making facial expressions associated with the seven universal emotions: anger, contempt, fear, disgust, happiness, sadness, and surprise. Visitors are challenged to choose one face and find the other three faces expressing the same emotion based on the facial characteristics they observe.

Scan a Brain
Visitors slide a mock scanner across a head, while a computer screen displays a sequence of MRI images of the brain to show what is inside the head at the position of the scanner. Along with the brain, the MRI images show the skull, dura mater, eyes, nose, and teeth to help visitors place the brain in context.

Turn Off Your Perception
Visitors approach a mannequin, which is “watching” a short film. The mannequin’s open skull exposes a model brain, featuring multiple buttons that are illuminated. Visitors press each button to deactivate that part of the brain, and the film changes to appear as it would be processed by the modified brain.

Conference Center and STEM Classroom Naming Opportunities / $3 million; $1 millionREAD MORE

With sophisticated audio/visual equipment, private breakout meeting rooms, and easy access to both on-site parking and award-winning catering services, the Conference Center at The Franklin Institute is a beautiful place to convene. This state-of-the-art meeting space in the new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion is surrounded by a tranquil rain garden and terrace. Attach your family or company’s name to the Conference Center and be recognized for your philanthropic support of science and technology education throughout the city.

Located in the Education and Conference Center of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, two new STEM Education Classrooms feature the latest in integrated modern learning technologies. The new cutting-edge classroom settings will help the Institute educate many thousands of schoolchildren and educators annually. Your philanthropic contribution of $1 million will name one of these two classrooms, and will help to make these learning opportunities possible.

Picture of one of the Franklin Institute's new STEM classrooms.


Featured Special Project:Barbara Brodsky Access InitiativeREAD MORE

Recently, The Franklin Institute was fortunate to engage the interests of a special donor, Mrs. Barbara Brodsky, whose commitment to providing educational resources and experiences for all children has resulted in a remarkable new partnership. Mrs. Barbara Brodsky’s donations to a range of causes in the Greater Philadelphia region exemplify her incredible philanthropic spirit. For the Institute, Mrs. Brodsky has set up a special endowment fund, and has very generously donated $1 million to provide access to the Institute’s wealth of resources for those most in need. The Barbara Brodsky Access Initiative benefits underprivileged children, including those with special physical, emotional, or developmental needs, and enables them to either visit the Institute, or to learn about science by experiencing a Traveling Science Show. “I just want to help others,” Barbara Brodsky, fondly known by friends and family as Bobbi, noted when asked what drives her charitable contributions. “I just want to know that when I leave this place, I made a difference.” As the Institute continues to provide more resources for visitors with developmental, emotional, and physical needs, the Barbara Brodsky Access Initiative will make these resources available to more people than ever before, because regardless of their abilities, everyone should be able to participate in learning experiences, both inside the Institute and beyond its walls.

Picture of Barbara Brodsky.

Featured Special Project:Samson STEM Learning InitiativeREAD MORE

Often a donor’s vision combines with the Institute’s experience Marvin Samson to provide a new avenue for increased access to education. This was the case with Marvin Samson, who provided  funding for the new Samson STEM Learning Initiative in the fall of 2012. Since then, the Samson STEM Learning Initiative has worked to integrate in and out-of-school enrichment experiences to give underserved elementary students in the School District of Philadelphia exciting opportunities to learn science all year round. During the school year, Traveling Science Shows nurture wonder about STEM topics and complement classroom learning. Field trips to The Franklin Institute, supported by pre- and post-visit lessons, introduce students to a world of science beyond the classroom. During the summer, students supported by Discovery Camp scholarships spend a special week at the Institute having fun and making friends while learning science.

The Samson STEM Learning Initiative provides targeted opportunities for students in the key K–8 grades.  Programming for this demographic provides a developmental path for these students, preparing them for successful participation in the Institute’s long-established and highly effective programs for high school students, including PACTS and the Science Leadership Academy.

Marvin Samson with children at a Franklin Institute event.

Vatican Splendors Gala at The Franklin Institute
Featured Block - Support - News & Events

Exciting news and information about upcoming and past events for members and supporters.