Inspire Science

Thank you, Nicholas and Athena Karabots, for your landmark gift of $10 million to The Franklin Institute's Inspire Science campaign!

In grateful appreciation of their extraordinary generosity, vision, and leadership, the Institute recognized Mr. and Mrs. Karabots by naming our new building addition, the cornerstone of the Inspire Science campaign, in their honor. The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion is located adjacent to the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial and houses an expanded education center, state-of-the-art permanent exhibit on the human brain, and upgraded and expanded gallery for traveling exhibitions. These initiatives will enrich the educational and cultural fabric of Greater Philadelphia in unparalleled ways. Donors to the campaign have already made it possible for the Institute to unveil two brand new permanent exhibits, modernize a variety of facility systems, and pioneer innovations in science learning by integrating new technologies in our programming. As a result, Philadelphia's youth and families, as well as students, educators, and visitors from around the world, are enjoying increased access to the Institute's unique, world-class brand of informal science learning programs and experiences.

Galaxy Tiles

Your tile is on display in the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, which opened to the public on June 14, 2014.

  • History

    When The Franklin Institute's current building was envisioned, planners designed a facility that filled an entire city block with four distinct wings enclosing a central courtyard. However fundraising for the project coincided with the onset of the Great Depression, and only generated resources to complete two wings.

    In 1989, The Franklin Institute began construction on a major addition to the original building. The Futures Center campaign funded the creation of new exhibit spaces and renovations to the existing building. Highlights of the project included the addition of the Tuttleman IMAX® Theater and the Mandell Center.

    Building on its legacy of innovation and progress, in 1998 The Franklin Institute began a campaign to completely revitalize its building, creating an environment that would not only be engaging but also optimally safe and comfortable for all visitors. More than 50 percent of the Institute's 1933 building was renovated thanks to the contribution of more than $61 million from 386 donors.

    Now, to fulfill the goals laid out in the 2006 Strategic Plan, The Franklin Institute endeavors to raise $64.7 million through the Inspire Science campaign to construct a new building addition, unveil three new state-of-the-art exhibits, and revitalize existing facility systems to ensure the Institute's continued role as an educational and cultural gem in the Philadelphia region and a world-class center for informal science learning.

  • Recent Achievements

    Renovation of the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial

    In October 2008, a full restoration of the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial was completed. The restoration revealed the original pristine marble surfaces, and added dramatic lighting and an educational multi-media presentation of Benjamin Franklin's life and work. The project received several awards, including:

    - 2009 Illuminating Engineering Society of North America's Award of Merit
    - 2009 General Building Construction Association of America's Best Historic Preservation Project
    - 2010 Preservation Achievement Grand Jury Award

    Changing Earth Exhibit

    The Earth is always changing. Powerful forces shape our air, water, and land, and will continue to transform our planet. In this exhibition, which opened in March 2010, visitors explore how our response to Earth's changes will impact our future on the planet. Changing Earth was created with generous support from Sunoco and the Hamilton Family Foundation.

    Electricity Exhibit

    Visitors experience the force of electricity by manipulating electrical phenomena, exploring authentic artifacts, and tackling questions of sustainable electricity generation and use. Electricity, opened in March 2010, sparks visitors' curiosity about the power of this phenomenon and what it holds for our future, while recalling the legacy of the Institute's namesake, Benjamin Franklin. Electricity was created with the generous support of PECO.

    Your Brain Exhibit

    This state-of-the-art exhibit will introduce visitors to one of the frontiers of science: the study and understanding of the human brain. Visitors will marvel at the capacities of their brain, wonder at its potential, and ponder its mysteries yet to be solved. Your Brain will be located in the Frank Baldino, Jr. Gallery, named in memory of a longtime friend and former Trustee of The Franklin Institute.

    Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion

    A new 53,000 square foot building addition, adjacent to Franklin Hall, will create much needed space for the Institute's cutting-edge exhibit on the brain, expanded climate-controlled traveling exhibition gallery, and educational program area. The new building will be LEED certified at the Silver level, ensuring that The Franklin Institute remains a responsible steward of the environment. LEED certified buildings reduce energy, saving operational costs each year.

    The Franklin Institute's Vision

    To meet the needs of today's 24/7 learners, the Institute has an ambitious vision for enhancing and integrating programming throughout Greater Philadelphia and beyond. Activities include:

    • Developing engaging, one-of-a-kind educational resources for self-directed learning
    • Designing engaging classroom activities and school curricula that make formal education more fun and effective
    • Providing multi-media resources to engage children, adults, and their families in learning online
    • Celebrating science and engaging diverse audiences wherever they live, work, and play in discovering the science issues that are of the greatest interest and have the most potential to change the way we live and understand the world around us
    • Providing a world-class museum experience to children, families, educators, and visitors from around the world
  • Campaign Donors

    The Franklin Institute is grateful for the generous support of donors to the Inspire Science campaign and is pleased to recognize their contributions below. These individuals, corporations, foundations, and public agencies are helping to further the Institute's mission by enabling an even wider and more diverse audience to experience the Institute's unique brand of informal science education through the engaging, hands-on exhibits and programs made possible by the campaign.

    As of July 15, 2013

    Nicholas and Athena Karabots
       The Karabots Foundation

    Cephalon, Inc.
    Estate of John Swope Collins
       in Memory of John Swope Samuel S. Fels Fund
    Otto Haas Charitable Trust
    The Hamilton Family Foundation
    Mrs. Samuel M.V. Hamilton
    John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
    Gerry Lenfest
    Ira Lubert and Pamela Estadt
    Samuel P. Mandell Foundation
    National Park Service,
       U.S. Department of the Interior
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    Marsha and Jeffrey Perelman
    The Pew Charitable Trusts
    City of Philadelphia
    William H. Shea, Jr. and Susan M. Shea
       The Shea Family Foundation
    Andrea and James Stewart
    The Sunoco Foundation
    Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.
    Mrs. Edna S. Tuttleman
    William Penn Foundation

    The Arcadia Foundation
    William J. and Sharon L. Avery
    Victor M. Bearg
    Mr. and Mrs. David J. Berkman
    The Boeing Company
    Mr. and Mrs. Jon A. Boscia
    Mr.* and Mrs. J. Mahlon Buck, Jr.
    Mr. and Mrs. William C. Buck
    The Callaghan Family Foundation
    Mr. and Mrs. Michael F. Camardo
    Sally W. Castle
    Ruth M. and Tristram C. Colket, Jr. and
       The Ethel D. Colket Foundation
    Debra and Michael Coslov
    Day & Zimmermann
    Delaware River Port Authority
    Kevin and Betsy Donohoe
    The Dow Chemical Company
    Michael C. Forman and Jennifer S. Rice
    Mr. and Mrs. John T. Fries
    Chris Gali, in Honor of Philomena Gali
    Ed and Patsy Garno
    Toni and Bob Garrison
    Jane and Joseph Goldblum
    Martyn D. Greenacre and Grete Greenacre
    Rich and Peggy Greenawalt
    Phoebe W. Haas Charitable Trust "B"
    Harry and Kay Halloran
    I.B.E.W. Local Union #98
    Joan and Herb Kelleher Charitable Foundation
    The Mill Spring Foundation
    Mr. Stephen Modzelewski and Mrs. Deborah Y. Sze
    Lauren and Don Morel
    Mr. Richard T. Nalle, Jr.*
    National Institutes of Health
    National Science Foundation
    In Memory of Stanley and Bertha Rogasner
    Mr. and Mrs. Joseph W. Rogers, Jr.
    Roberta and Ernest Scheller, Jr.
    Mr. and Mrs. Harold A. Sorgenti
    US Airways Community Foundation
    The United States Mint
    Mr. Richard W. Vague
    Robert G. and Rosalind White Williams
    Estate of G. Raymond Ziegler, Jr.

    The Abramson Family Foundation
    Mr. and Mrs. Daniel F. Amoroso
    Catherine V. Beath
    Estate of George E. Beggs, Jr.
    Mr. Richard P. Brown, Jr.*
    Gretchen and Stephen Burke
    Dr. and Mrs. Arthur L. Caplan
    The CHG Charitable Trust
    D. Walter Cohen
    Patricia and Gerard Cuddy
    Richard and Judith Dilsheimer
    Stephen Esser and Dana L. Dortone
    Ms. Elizabeth H. Gemmill
    Julie and Mitch Gerstein
    Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Glaberson
    Eric Hafler
    Robert P. and Barbara S. Hauptfuhrer
    Mr. and Mrs. Paul C. Heintz
    Dr. S. Jay and Gail Turley Hirsh
    Joan and Irwin Jacobs
    Helen M. and Henry K. Justi
    Josephine Klein
    Barbara and John Kowalczyk
    Chris and Lori Kuebler
    Sandra and David Marshall
    Mr. and Mrs. Thomas A. McCarthy
    The McLean Contributionship
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert S. McMenamin
    Donna and William Oliver
    Louise and Alan Reed
    Mr. and Mrs. Joseph L. Romano
    Dr. and Mrs. Donald J. Rosato
    Bruce and Elizabeth Rubin
    Karl F. and Patsy Rugart
    Andrew and Bryna Scott
    Mr. and Mrs. William J. Stallkamp
    Joan N. Stern
    Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth S. Sweet, Jr.
    Jay H. Tolson
    Kathleen Troncelliti
    UGI Corporation
    Mr. and Mrs. James A. Unruh
    Tina Wells
    David and Evelyn White
    Gordon and Diana Wilder
    Paul and Marcia Woodruff
    Mr. Joseph Zoll and Dr. Kathy Zoll

    Mr. George J. Ahern
    Mr. and Mrs. Charles H. Allen
    Estate of Charles E. Balleisen
    Scott A. Battersby
    Peter A. Benoliel and Willo Carey
    Lawrence H. and Julie C. Berger
    Suzanne F. Boda
    Mr. and Mrs. William J. Bonner, Jr.
       in Honor of Nicholas and Athena Karabots
    Renee B. Booth
    Estate of Warren F. Busse
    Carol S. Caswell
    Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Chappelear
    Drs. Melvin and Gloria Chisum
    Estate of Raymond Czarnica
    Mr. Joseph I. Daily, Jr.
    Estate of William K. Dickey
    Dr. Jack Dickstein
    Mr. Larry Dubinski and Ms. Vicki J. Markovitz
    Jack E. Feinberg
    Dr.* and Mrs. Donald L. Felley
    Mr. and Mrs. A. Carter Fergusson
    Mr. and Mrs. William J. Friel, Jr.
    Michael J. and Jeanette M. Gale
    Marci and Gary Generose
    Estate of Carol K. Gerstley
    Dr. and Mrs. Allan M. Greenspan
    Mrs. Dorothea K. Harris
    High Swartz LLP
    Joseph J. Hochreiter and Eileen G. Wachtman
    Estate of Helen M. Humphreville
    Karen Nagel Kamp
    Malcolm Kates, M.D.
    Walter and Marian* Kinzinger
    Kenneth D. Kleinman and Debra J. Fein
    Dr. William Krieger
    The Krone Foundation
    William Kronenberg III
    Reinhard and Sue D. Kruse
    Mr. and Mrs. Ronald A. Landon
    Mary and Richard Lau
    Thomas Leist, M.D., Ph.D.
    Drs. Mary and Don Levick
    Charisse R. Lillie
    Wallace S. Martindale, 3rd
    Peter, Susan, and Cameron McClung
    Amir and Nawal Metry
    James J. Moskowitz
    Mr. and Mrs. Randy H. Needles
    Mr. and Mrs. John Nugent
    Mr. and Mrs. Denis P. O'Brien
    Mr. and Mrs. Edward O'Connor
    Drs. Bonnie and Paul Offit
    Dr. Camille Paglia and Mr. Vernon L. Francis
    Dr. and Mrs. Homayoon Pasdar
    Provincial Foundation
    Mr. and Mrs. Mark D. Rainville
    Mr. and Mrs. Douglas E. Ress
    Elizabeth and Hershel Richman
    Jay and Gretchen Riley
    The Rittenhouse Foundation
    Lucy B. Rorke-Adams, M.D.
    Leonard M. Rosenfeld, Ph.D.
    Judith Quigley Ruse
    Michael L. Sanyour
    Buck and Mary Scott
    Norman Silbertrust
    Mr. and Dr. R. Greg Surovcik
    Eric W. Tappert
    Terri and Bob Teti
    Estate of Marjorie Upson
    Thomas and Patricia Vernon
    Marisa Wigglesworth and Edmund B. Bayruns
    Mr. and Mrs. Richard E. Winston
    Dennis M. Wint, Ph.D. and Ann Meredith
    Mr. Rhett D. Workman
    Mr. and Mrs. Dennis Zeleny

    * deceased

  • Timelapse video of the construction of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion