Current & Upcoming Exhibits

Super Snazz: Multi-Media Collage and Assemblage By Dan Mulholland

Now through August 28, 2014 -- Downtown Library: 3rd Floor Exhibit

New Art Prints from the AADL Collection

August 5, 2014 through September 11, 2014 -- Malletts Creek Branch: Exhibits

Historic Ann Arbor Architecture

Monday August 25, 2014: 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm -- Pittsfield Branch: Program Room

Ben Franklin: Educational Pioneer

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In a city with such a significant university presence, it seems fitting to remember the contribution that Benjamin Franklin made on the landscape of higher education in the United States.

Through the years, the founding fathers have provided a popular option for college & university names: Thomas Jefferson University, James Madison University, Franklin & Marshall College. And lest we forget the numerous homages to George Washington – The George Washington University, Washington & Lee University, Washington University in St. Louis, Washington & Jefferson College, Washington College. Yet interestingly, each institution was established by an unrelated party and named in the founding father’s honor (with Ben & George possibly donating some money to a few of their namesakes). One university which was established by a founding father bears what seems to be a much more egalitarian name: The University of Pennsylvania, founded by Benjamin Franklin.

Initially established as The Academy and College of Philadelphia in 1749, the first class of twelve students graduated eight years later in 1757 (I bet the 250 year class reunion a few years ago was something!). Benjamin Franklin had a vision for an institution which would not emphasize the training of clergymen, but would instead focus on the education of a business and governing class. After a number of name changes, board of trustee shake-ups and administration squabbles, the current University of Pennsylvania was formed. Unlike other American Colonial Colleges, Franklin’s University of Pennsylvania was the first institution of higher education to offer a modern liberal arts curriculum. Over 250 years later, the University remains one of the nation’s premier institutions of higher education.

Exploring the history of Benjamin Franklin’s University is aided by the University of Pennsylvania Archives. Similar research is possible for Ann Arbor’s University at its own archives: Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

To learn other exciting details about Benjamin Franklin, visit Ben Franklin: In Search of a Better World, on display through July 8th.

The Ann Arbor District Library also makes exploring the history of our own city possible through sites such as The Making of Ann Arbor and The Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit Program which can be found on AADL’s Local History Page.

Benjamin Franklin, word inventor

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Until the middle of the 18th century electricity was little more than a parlor trick used to amuse the masses. One such performer peaked Ben Franklin’s curiosity and set him on a course of experimentation that would open up the new field of electrical science and ultimately pave the way to create the electrical conveniences on which we depend today.

Franklin’s “Experiments and Observations on Electricity Made at Philadelphia” published in 1751 was one of the earliest works on electricity. It was created from a series of letters Franklin sent to Peter Collinson between 1747 and 1751. Included in the book are accounts of the famous kite and key experiment, his work with Leyden jars, lightning rods and charged clouds. In describing these various experiments Franklin would coin a number of scientific terms like battery, conductor, charge, discharge, negative, minus, plus, electric shock, and electrician.

This book would bring Ben Franklin considerable international recognition and make him known for many words still used in modern scientific lexicon.

Believe in Ben!

One of my favorite children’s authors wrote a great book about Ben Franklin that is fun to browse or read straight through and a perfect companion to the library’s exhibit. In Ben Franklin’s Almanac, Candace Fleming reminds us that Ben rose each morning and asked himself this question. “What good shall I do today?” Thank goodness for all of us that Ben Franklin lived to be 84 years old!

The Philadelphia Bequest: Ben Franklin

Gift of MoneyGift of Money When Benjamin Franklin passed away on April 17, 1790, he left Boston and Philadelphia $2,000. He'd saved this money while he was Governor of Pennsylvania (1785 to 1788). The money was not to be distributed until 200 years after his death. In 1990, the bequest was worth $6.5 million and Philadelphia's portion of the trust was $2 million. There were several ideas about what should be done with the money: apply the money to government deficits, build low-income housing, gift the money to a university, or create scholarships for students who want to study a trade. After some debate, the money was shared between The Franklin Institute and several community foundations like the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation that helps fund technical education scholarships. Although Benjamin Franklin left the decision of how to spend the money for the city, he suggested the money should "provide funds for young artificers". Are you interested in researching grants and foundations? The Ann Arbor District Library can help, just click here.

Ben Franklin: In Search of a Better World, May 4 - July 8, 2011

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The Ann Arbor District Library special exhibit, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, celebrates Franklin's 300th birthday and allows the viewer to experience the life and adventures of an extraordinary man. Scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur, Benjamin Franklin was one of the most influential and remarkable Americans of any generation. His name evokes many qualities - imagination and curiosity, hard work and ambition, wit and entrepreneurial ingenuity -- qualities that have contributed to the formation of an American identity and American values.

Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World was organized by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, Philadelphia, and the American Library Association Public Programs Office. The traveling exhibition for libraries has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: great ideas brought to life.

The traveling exhibition is based on a major exhibition of the same name mounted by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary is a nonprofit organization established through a major grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts to educate the public about Franklin’s enduring legacy.

Join us here as we celebrate Benjamin Franklin - the exhibit, the man, his ideas and his influence. Check out all our Ben Franklin events for a complete list of events and activities surrounding the exhibit.

The Morals of Chess: Benjamin Franklin

ChessChess On the way to work today I stopped to read and enjoy the special traveling exhibit, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World. I learned that Benjamin Franklin LOVED to play chess. In fact, he wrote an essay about Chess for the The Columbian Magazine in 1786 entitled, The Morals of Chess. Benjamin Franklin is recognized as one of the earliest players of chess in America. Speaking of chess, did you know that we play chess regularly here at the library? The next Chesstastic event is scheduled Sunday May 15, 1 pm to 4 pm at the Traverwood Branch.

Franklin Family Fun

Read the entertaining novel Ben and Me by Robert Lawson, attend the book discussion/craft program, and then bring the whole family to the Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World exhibit. Amos the mouse, Ben Franklin’s “closest friend and adviser”, has quite the ego and sense of humor. His descriptions of Franklin’s inventions and adventures are filled with wisdom and warmth. The opportunity to explore the remarkable Ben Franklin from to fact to fiction, will be available through July 8th!

Ben and Me Book Discussion

In conjunction with the big Ben Franklin display that's coming to AADL May 4 - July 8, we will be having a book discussion about the children's classic Ben and Me by Robert Lawson. This book tells the story of Ben Franklin from the viewpoint of the little mouse that lived in his house. An activity will follow the discussion. This is for students in grades 2 - 5.

This discussion will be on Saturday, May 14, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Downtown Library.

The library bought extra copies of this title so reserve yours today! For more books about Mr. Franklin, click here.

Many Ways of Seeing

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The Detroit Institute of Art presents Many Ways of Seeing: Artwork by Blind and Visually Impaired Children and Youth from the Detroit Area. The exhibit will take place at the Walter Gibbs Gallery from April 8 to 15. The DIA Learning and Interpretation Department, in collaboration with the UM School of Art and Design, recently began an art-making program for students in Detroit Public Schools and Lincoln Park Public Schools who are blind or visually impaired. This exhibit presents the local blind and visually impaired youth’s work, shedding light on the many ways of seeing that exist.

Dream Seeding for Changing Realities : All Ages Art Show

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The organizers of Dream Seeding are actively seeking submissions of art in ANY feasible medium from folks of any age or skill level for this year's Art Show.

The artist must feel that the work, in any conceivable way, "offers a vision of any aspect of a more peaceful, socially just, or ecologically healthy community or world, or offers some suggestion as to how we can move toward such a world." For more information on guidelines and submission, here is the contact.

Dream Seeding for Changing Realities All Ages Art Show will be open to the public at the Michigan Union Art Lounge (530 S. State St. on the University of Michigan Central Campus) from March 1st until March 31st.

Come join the Dream Seeding Reception on Saturday, March 19th, from 6 to 9 with music, dance, storytelling and food.

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