Ben Franklin Birthday Celebration, “Craftmanship,” Honoring Frank Ghery – Feb 9

Posted by Celebration! of Benjamin Franklin Founder on January 30, 2024

The public is invited to a free and festive rescheduled event to celebrate Benjamin Franklin’s 318th birthday. Residents, visitors, colonial characters, Philadelphia dignitaries, and Franklin himself will gather in Old City to hear a panel discussion examining the important role of craftsmanship in America and honor this year’s Founder’s Award recipient, architectural great Frank Gehry. Celebrants will also be able to enjoy sweets and treats from Franklin Fountain and an exhibit of 18th and 19th century tools. The event will be followed by a lively procession to Franklin’s gravesite, featuring music, a fire engine, banners and flags.

Date and Time: Friday, February 9, 2024, 10 AM – 1 PM:

  • Panel from 10 AM – 12 PM
  • Procession from 12-1 PM

Location: Panel held at: American Philosophical Society (APS): Benjamin Franklin Hall, 427 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106

Procession: Will go from APS Library Hall on 5th Street below Chestnut Street to Franklin’s grave site at Christ Church Burial Ground at 5th and Arch Streets

Host and Moderator: Daniela Holt Voith, Founding Partner & Director of Design, Voith & Mactavish Architects


  • Jay Robert Stiefel, author and historian of American decorative arts, on “Franklin and the Pursuit of Craftsmanship”
  • Michael Rounds, President of Williamson College of the Trades, on “Building the Well-Rounded Tradesman: A Legacy Since 1888”
  • Emily Edelstein, executive director of CraftNOW Philadelphia, on “The Future of Craft Education Is Community-Based”

Honoree: Frank Gehry will receive the 2024 Founder’s Award

Ben Franklin: Impersonator Robert DeVitis will be in the procession and at the gravesite, where he will place a Franklinia wreath from Bartram’s Garden on his grave.

Headhouse Books will be on-site with related materials for the program.

Event is free and open to the public, but seats are limited: RSVP here.

Salty pretzel chocolate bar, birthday cake ice cream, and hot chocolate provided by Franklin Fountain.

A pop-up exhibit of historic tools from the 18th and 19th centuries will be on display during the event, courtesy of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters museum.

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