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Ben Franklin exhibit opens at GSU library
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Direct Benajmin Franklin descendant Clare Duane Ellis speaks at the exhibit opening at Henderson Library. In the foreground is a family bible passed down from Franklin himself. - photo by PHIL BOYUM/From video
Upcoming Benjamin Franklin events
Benjamin Franklin & Social Entrepreneurship
March 25, 7p.m. — COBA, Room 1124
     A free lecture, given by Acting Director of the School of Economic Development John Brown, who will discuss Franklin’s role as a precursor to social entrepreneurship, the practice of applying business skills to the solution of societal needs, his impact on the fledgling insurance industry and his influence on modern philanthropists.
The Physics of Electricity
April 1, 7p.m. — COBA, Room 1124
     A free lecture, given by Physics Chair Mark Edwards, who will discuss the Physics of Electricity and the debt owed to Benjamin Franklin who is associated with the beginning of the understanding of electromagnetic phenomena.
Ben Franklin, Master Printer
April 8, 7p.m. — Henderson Library, 1st Floor
     A free lecture, given by Graphic Communications Management Professor Donald Armel, who will present an overview of major breakthroughs in the printing industry with an emphasis on the early and important contributions of Ben Franklin to printing.
Ben's Splash Bash
April 18, 10a.m. – noon – GSU’s Recreation Activities Center
     To honor Franklin’s favorite sport, swimming Instructors from the RAC will offer a free swimming lesson at the indoor pool to children aged 7 to 10. Parents must accompany children. Requires pre-registering with JoEllen Broome at jbroome@georgiasouthern.edu or 912-687-2783. Indicate beginning, intermediate or advanced skill level when registering. Max. 50 children.
"Eagle vs. Turkey Sketch"
April 18, 3p.m. — Center for Wildlife Education's outdoor arena-
     Following the regular flight show, there will be a story for little ones describing the debate between Franklin and John Adams (so the myth goes) about whether the turkey or the eagle should become our national symbol. Director Steve Hein, GSU mascot Freedom and a sing-a-long with guitarist Richard Flynn will be featured. For all ages.
Ben's Pen Writing Contests -- Award Reception
April 22, 7p.m. — Henderson Library
     The announcement of the winners of the Franklin Poetry and Prose contests will be announced and prizes awarded. Winners will read their entries aloud, which will close the Ben Franklin exhibit at the library.

    To show off their new facilities, the Zach S. Henderson Library at Georgia Southern is hosting a national traveling exhibition that examines and celebrates the life of one of America’s most prominent and interesting Founding Fathers.     
    “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” will be on display on the first floor of Henderson Library through April 22. From personal life to business, from printing to electricity, from world affairs to philanthropic endeavors, the six free-standing displays are covered with photo montages and packed with information emphasizing the variety of interests that filled Franklin’s life.
    The show is a traveling spin-off on an exhibit on display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia that coincided with the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth. According to Dean of Henderson Library W. Bede Mitchell, GSU was one of only two Georgia school selected to host the exhibit.
    “We are pleased and honored that this tribute to Benjamin Franklin is coming to our campus,” Mitchell said. “This is a real crowning event for our first year here in our brand new building. We’re delighted to have enough room to host this kind of cultural activity and we have a whole series of activities surrounding this (exhibit).”
    The Bulloch chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution sponsored the exhibit along with Georgia Power and was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Jan Anderson, vice-regent of the Bulloch D.A.R. and president of the Bulloch Historical Society, said it’s always fun when exhibits featuring central figures of the American Revolution come to town.
    “It’s very exciting because if you’re going to be a member of the D.A.R. you have to prove you had an ancestor who fought during the American Revolution, which goes back to the period around Ben Franklin’s time,” Anderson said. “So we’re very excited when anything happens about our American Revolution.”
    In conjunction with the exhibit, the Henderson Library is sponsoring a series of programs that are free and open to the public (see box for details) including informative lectures for the intellectually inquisitive as well as activities designed for children. School aged children from all around the area are scheduled to visit the exhibition.
    Information Services Librarian JoEllen Broome made the proposal to the American Library Association on behalf of the Henderson Library.
    “We are delighted to have a brand-new, spacious, light-filled, cutting-edge facility now in which to showcase this milestone event — the first of many more to come,” said Broome. 
    Direct Franklin descendant Clare Duane Ellis made a rare public appearance at the exhibit opening, bringing along her huge 20 inch by 13 inch family bible, which has been passed down from Franklin himself. Though she is proud to be a Franklin descendant, she said the connection doesn’t really affect her in her daily life.
    “I believe that Franklin did not believe in ancestor worship — that he believed you create your own life — and I believe in that myself,” Ellis said.

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