BENJAMIN FRANKLIN: UN AMERICAIN à PARIS, 1776-1785
Carnavalet Museum. Hurry, this exhibition will end March 9, 2008.
A great exhibition documenting the political influence—and huge social success—of Ben Franklin during the nine years he spent in Paris as ambassador of the new U.S. Congress.
In December 1776, Franklin, age 71, traveled to France to successfully negotiate a commerce treaty and defensive alliance. He stayed in France for nine years, working on trade treaties. Franklin became a hero to the French, and diplomats and nobility eagerly sought his company. He was honored by Louis XVI, and his portrait was placed on everything from chamber pots to snuff boxes. In this tricentennial exhibition, the Carnavalet pays homage to the great statesman and the way his ideas influenced the French Revolution.
Philadelphia, Franklin’s adopted hometown, began Tercentenary celebrations in 2006 with an exhibition, “In Search of a Better World”, which then traveled to St Louis, Houston, Denver and Atlanta. This versatile historical figure was always interested in trying to improve life for people in general.
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was famous on both sides of the Atlantic, not only as a political leader and diplomat but also as a scientist and inventor, especially for the invention of the lightning rod and his work with electricity—hence his common nickname, The Electric Ben Franklin.
However, his scientific-invention accomplishments were extremely varied: from inventing a catheter for kidney stones, to outlining a theory of the surface physics of oil and water (which still stands today), to developing several hypotheses regarding world weather patterns, climate change, tornado formation, and the relationship between winds and the Earth’s rotation.
Musée Carnavalet (Musée de l’Histoire de Paris), 23 rue de Sévigné (3rd ) Métro: St-Paul. Tel: 01.44.59.58.58 €7. Discounts. Free under 13. Closed Tuesdays. Dec 5, 2007–Mar 9, 2008.
(These last 2 pictures are copyright-free images from the Library of Congress Prints and Photographic Division).