American Innovator: the life of Benjamin Franklin

2006 marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Benjamin Franklin, printer, innovator, scientist, American patriot and diplomat. This small display celebrates Franklin’s life and long connection with letters, London and science, his work as a printer, his role in the Enlightenment’s ‘Republic of Letters’ and the dramatic birth of the American Republic. It showcases several unique Franklin items that he either printed or wrote by hand, including a book printed by Franklin during his first visit to London in 1725 at the age of 19 and a letter written to one of the founders of the British Museum’s collections, Sir Hans Sloane, offering a ‘salamander’ purse – a bag made of asbestos now held by the Natural History Museum. A lecture on Franklin’s musical invention, the Glass Armonica, and performance of Mozart’s Quintet K. 617 for armonica, flute, oboe, viola and cello will take place on 2 May 2006. In the Entrance Hall at the British Library, St Pancras 8 April – 5 July 2006.