Special Exhibits

Close up of a Terracotta Warrior Statue

Whether it’s your students’ first visit or their tenth, there’s always something new to see at The Franklin Institute. 


  • Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor

    September 30, 2017—March 4, 2018

    Take a journey through one of the most significant archaeological discoveries in history—and explore the enduring mysteries that remain hidden within its depths.

    In 1974, a farmer in China was digging a well when he struck upon fragments of terracotta. Unbeknownst to him, the farmer had uncovered one of the most monumental achievements in human history. Buried beneath the surface of the land were thousands of life-sized statues, constructed over 2,000 years ago—silently and steadfastly guarding the tomb of their master: China’s first emperor.

    In the years since their discovery, archaeologists have excavated and researched these warriors—exploring their intricacies, uncovering their histories, and unraveling the secrets that have lain beneath our feet since 210 BCE. Yet, questions remain about the elaborate tomb, shrouding the warriors in mystery and calling scientists to continue to explore.

    Now, these warriors—symbols of the astounding achievements of mankind and the incredible history of the human race—come to The Franklin Institute for the only east coast engagement of a two-city exhibit tour.  Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor takes a unique journey through the story, culture, craft, and science of the figures that promises to awe and inspire.

    Unprecedented in its focus on the science and technology used to build, bury, and excavate the Terracotta Army, this brand new exhibit features ten terracotta figures from the burial complex, as well as more than 160 artifacts including weapons, jade pieces, gold ornaments, bronze bells, ceremonial vessels, coins, and architectural pieces of the time.  Multimedia and interactive elements complement the artifacts to further engage visitors in hands-on STEM learning aligned with Next Generation Science Standards. Don’t miss this unforgettable opportunity to immerse yourself in the wonders that are the Terracotta Warriors.

    Recommended Itinerary for 3-4 hour field trip:
    Special Exhibit: Terracotta Warriors of The First Emperor
    IMAX® Film: Mysteries of China

    This itinerary meets the following curriculum standards:

    • Physical Science
    • Earth & Space Sciences
  • 3D Printing the Future - Free with General Admission

    September 16, 2017—April 4, 2018

    From amateur enthusiasts to industrial innovators, 3D printing technology has exploded worldwide—enabling designers and engineers across the globe to reimagine their work and bring new ideas to life. 3D Printing the Future tells the extraordinary story behind the 3D printing craze, showcasing the power of the human imagination through technological advancement. Get up-close-and-personal with one of several 3D printers actively printing objects, explore an artistic display of hundreds of locally made pieces, or discover the impact that 3D printing has had on human life through medical advancements. This limited-engagement special exhibition will astound and delight visitors of all ages, leaving you with just one question: if YOU had a 3D printer, what dream would you bring to life?

    This exhibit meets the following curriculum standards:

    • Engineering, Technology, and Applications
  • Game Masters

    March 31—September 4, 2018

    Showcasing the work of over 30 innovative game designers, Game Masters takes your students on an interactive journey inside their favorite video games—from the trailblazing arcade era through today’s web and console games. Challenge yourself to achieve a high score on more than 100 playable games as you learn how the most beloved characters—from Sonic to the Sims—came to life, and follow the remarkable transformations that video games have undergone over time through the 100 objects and original artworks featured within the exhibit. Your students will have the unique opportunity to play in spectacular multi-player immersive experiences as well as on classic arcade games from the 1970s and ‘80s while discovering the stories of the designers who have pushed the limits of gaming beyond our wildest imaginations. Browse rare concept artwork, watch revealing interviews, and beat all the boss levels you can in this landmark exhibition celebrating the names behind the games!

    This exhibit meets the following curriculum standards:

    • Engineering, Technology, and Applications
    • Computer Science