By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s a wrap!  The iconic statue of Benjamin Franklin, in the central hall of the Benjamin Franklin Institute, on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, has been placed under a big sheet of plastic, albeit for a short time.

Using an electric lift, ladders, scaffolding and even a long stick, workers this morning pulled a huge sheet of plastic over the 20-foot-tall, white marble statue of Franklin, in preparation of removal of a portion of the south wall of the room.

That opening, when completed, will connect the main hall with the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, currently under construction next door (see related story).

“This is a very controlled breakthrough, well-planned and well-documented,” notes Dennis Wint, president and CEO of the Franklin Institute, “but because it is a national memorial, we want to be careful there’s not dust or something that accumulates on it.  So we’ve wrapped it, just to give it that little extra protection.”

Construction has been going on just outside on the four-story addition, which is due to open next year.   The section of wall will be removed carefully, not demolished, so its sheets of marble can be repurposed.

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