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Ben Franklin Museum in Old City Reopening After Two-Year Spruce-Up

(Benjamin Franklin reënactor Ralph Archbold makes a presentation during a press tour of the renovated Franklin Museum in Old City.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(Benjamin Franklin reënactor Ralph Archbold makes a presentation during a press tour of the renovated Franklin Museum in Old City. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — He said he’d rather be useful than rich, but when his museum reopens this weekend, visitors will fiind he was both.

The Benjamin Franklin Museum in Old City Philadelphia reopens to the public this weekend following a two-year renovation.

“It’s awesome,” observed Leanna, one of the invited guests getting a preview today of new exhibits at the museum, which lies underneath Franklin Court, in the 300 block of Market Street.

Leanna knew, of course, about the kite and key experiment, but she learned there was no end to Franklin’s inventiveness.

“He made this bowl so it would be easier to eat on ships. I didn’t know that,” she said today.

Such tidbits and artifacts are sprinkled throughout the spiffy new space that replaces the 35-year-old original, built for the nation’s Bicentennial in 1976.

Co-curator Page Talbott says that instead of dates and data, she wants visitors to get to know the man.

“We want everybody to access Franklin through his character traits, his sociability, his curiosity, his perseverance,” she tells KYW Newsradio.

(ALL BENS, ALL THE TIME.  Three Ben Franklin reënactors took part in today's press tour.  Credit: Pat Loeb)

(ALL BENS, ALL THE TIME. Three Ben Franklin reënactors took part in today’s press tour. Credit: Pat Loeb)

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The museum, operated by the National Park Service, opens this Saturday and is free this weekend.  Normal admission is $5 for adults, $2 for children.

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