Basing House Rickmansworth – Thursday morning 8th August 2013


A group of directors and stewards from the Three Rivers Museum Trust (TRMT) spent a very interesting morning in conversation with Marcia Balisciano who is a Director of the Benjamin Franklin House (BFH) in London near Charing Cross Station. The House, the world’s only remaining Franklin home was lived in for nearly sixteen years between 1757 and 1775, by Dr Benjamin Franklin – scientist, diplomat, philosopher, inventor, Founding Father of the United States and more. Built circa 1730, it is today a dynamic museum and educational facility.
TRMT also has an American connection in the form of William Penn (14 October 1644 – 30 July 1718) who was an English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, early Quaker and founder of the Province of Pennsylvania, the English North American colony and the future Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. He was an early champion of democracy and religious freedom. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed. We have a standing exhibition on William Penn in one of the museum rooms.
The TRMT is hoping to emulate the achievements of BFH and we were discussing how they had set up the unique historical experience. It conveys and presents the excitement and uncertainty of Franklin’s London years. By using rooms where so much took place, as staging for a drama that seamlessly integrates live performance, cutting edge lighting, sound and visual projection. There is also the Student Science Centre which brings their educational activities into schools and the community. The top floor, Robert H. Smith Scholarship Centre is a focal point in Europe for Franklin and the myriad subjects with which he is associated.
Photo shows Kathleen Sabwa, Ann Vernau, me, Barbara Owen, Marcia Balisciano, Geoff Paine and Bill Sharp

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