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CityPASS Home  »  City Traveler Blog  »  The Franklin Institute's Huge Expansion Great for Philly

City Traveler Blog

The Franklin Institute's Huge Expansion Great for Philly

What’s in your brain? What does your brain even do? How does your brain work? Are things really as you see them? Does your brain hurt yet? From so many questions?

Ok, let’s slow down a minute, but in the process realize that our brains are always changing, and brain science is advancing rapidly as modern technology is helping unravel age-old mysteries about us.

If science-y stuff like this interests you, it will be fun to find out what’s happening inside your head as your brain makes sense of the world around you at The Franklin Institute’s newest AND largest exhibition: Your Brain. Save the date because this permanent exhibit opens Saturday, June 14.

Photos courtesy of The Franklin Institute

Signature Exhibition

Your Brain will give you a high-tech glimpse into the noggin. With over 70 interactive experiences in an 8,500-square-foot space, Your Brain will be the largest permanent exhibit at The Franklin Institute, and in the country, dedicated to the most complex and misunderstood vital organ in our bodies. It’s also a feather in the city of Philadelphia's cap.

“Interactive technology” will make visitors an integral part of the exhibit experience as they travel through a two-story climbing structure, simulating a neural network with lighting and sound effects that are triggered by their footsteps, according to The Franklin Institute. " They will use their brains to explore their world by traveling through a street scene filled with multi-sensory information and scenarios from everyday life."

Real specimens and visualizations contributed by scientists all over the country, along with interactive experiences inspired by cutting-edge research, will illustrate the fascinating and advancing world of neuroscience. Ok, are you getting brain overload now?

And if Your Brain is not exciting enough on its own merit, this exhibit is the centerpiece of The Franklin Institute’s new Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, which is a massive 53,000-square-foot, $41 million expansion project.

Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion

The three-story pavilion is appropriately named in honor of the lead donors whose commitment to science and technology education made the project a reality.

The “exploration-driven exhibition will help visitors understand that the brain and the nervous system underlie all human behavior, appreciate that the brain is always changing, and contemplate the potential of our evolving knowledge of the brain to transform ourselves and society,” according to The Franklin Institute.

Traveling Exhibit Gallery

Temporary exhibitions also begin on June 14. The first two at the pavilion include Circus! Science Under the Big Top, through September 1, and 101 Inventions That Changed the World through October 26. Both are included in general admission, and so is Your Brain.

Circus! Science under the Big Top will entice visitors to explore the scientific secrets behind many popular circus acts, test the laws of physics by launching cannon balls, walking tightropes, and flipping like trapeze artists. 101 Inventions That Changed the World centers around an immersive 5,000-square-foot multi-screen media environment. From the creation of light bulbs, to penicillin, to the World Wide Web, take a closer look at inventions that helped steer human history.


The traveling exhibits will be housed on the third floor of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion. The third floor adds 8,000 square feet of climate-controlled gallery space, which gives The Franklin Institute a total of 18,000 square feet of traveling exhibit space when combined with existing space.

On the exterior of the Pavilion, you’ll find a ‘Shimmer Wall’ created by internationally renowned artist Ned Kahn. Composed of 12,500 clear anodized aluminum squares, the 3,000-square-foot Shimmer Wall is a public art piece that constantly changes with the wind.

If you're visiting Philadelphia, don't forget to check out this exhibition at the Franklin Institute!

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