The Franklin Institute Unveils New Space Exploration Exhibit Ahead of Bicentennial

The Franklin Institute, a renowned science museum in Philadelphia, has announced the launch of a new permanent space exploration exhibit called “Wondrous Space.” This immersive exhibit, opening on November 4th, is part of the museum’s extensive renovation in preparation for its upcoming 200-year anniversary in 2024.

The “Wondrous Space” exhibit aims to take visitors on an awe-inspiring journey through the marvels of space exploration. Curated by a team led by Dan Picard of design firm MDSX, known for their work at Disney World and the Kennedy Space Center, the exhibit will feature immersive experiences designed to simulate space travel and control the forces of nature. Franklin’s chief astronomer, Derrick Pitts, has also contributed his scientific expertise to the project.

The exhibit will showcase premium space artifacts, including two rovers on loan from Carnegie Mellon University and a 10-foot-long rocket engine from the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Additional artifacts from the Kennedy Space Center, inventor Hope Hersh, and Boeing will also be on display.

In addition to “Wondrous Space,” the Franklin Institute has plans for five other new permanent exhibits as part of its bicentennial celebration. These exhibits will cover a range of topics, including space, the human body, earth systems, the built environment, advanced machines and robotics, and computer science. The museum aims to create future-focused exhibits that push the boundaries of traditional science center displays.

Despite the renovations, the Franklin Institute is committed to preserving its most iconic exhibits, such as the Giant Heart and the Baldwin locomotive. A full list of what will stay and what will go has not yet been released.

In addition to the new exhibits, the Franklin Institute has scheduled several space-related events for 2023. Chief astronomer Derrick Pitts has launched a podcast called “The Curious Cosmos,” and the museum will host an eclipse viewing party. Guests attending the opening of the “Wondrous Space” exhibit will also have the opportunity to view a touring Mars art installation by Luke Jerram and visit the refreshed Holt & Miller Observatory.

The Franklin Institute’s renovation and the unveiling of the “Wondrous Space” exhibit demonstrate the museum’s commitment to providing innovative and immersive experiences for visitors. As the bicentennial approaches, the Franklin Institute is poised to continue inspiring curiosity and promoting scientific exploration for generations to come.

– The Franklin Institute (source article)
– Derrick Pitts