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Get to Know ‘The First American’ Through Free Exhibit, Series at CCC


The remarkable life and diverse legacy of one of the most extraordinary figures in American history will be explored through a free national traveling exhibition and a series of entertaining and educational events at Camden County College in January and February.


The display and events making up “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” will coincide with the 305th anniversary of Franklin’s birth. The legendary scientist, inventor, statesman, philosopher, author and humorist is often referred to as “the first American.”


The exhibit is based on a major exhibition of the same name that was mounted by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, Philadelphia, to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Franklin’s birth. The traveling exhibition was organized by the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary and the American Library Association Public Programs Office and made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Great Ideas Brought to Life.


Camden County College’s Wolverton Learning Resources Center, the Blackwood Campus library, is one of just 40 libraries nationwide to host this exhibit during its national tour. The 1,000-square-foot photo-panel display combines representations of original documents, artwork and artifacts, many from organizations – such as the American Philosophical Society and the Library Company of Philadelphia – that Franklin himself helped create.


In conjunction with the exhibit, the College’s Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility has planned a five-part series of activities that will include performances and lectures. The full schedule for the exhibit and the events are as follows:


 Now through Feb. 25: “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” exhibition and other artifacts, viewable during regular library hours, first floor, Wolverton Learning Resources Center.


 Jan. 27: Reception featuring a mini-version of The Readers’ Theatre Project of American Literature’s “Franklin in His Own Words,” 5 to 7 p.m., Atrium, Connector Building.


 Jan. 27: “Show Me the Franklins” play and discussion featuring Amanda Kemp and the Theatre for Transformation. This dramatic, musical and sometimes humorous production will offer a fresh perspective on Benjamin Franklin. It is made possible by a grant from the Camden County College Foundation. 7 p.m., Civic Hall, Connector Building.


 Feb. 3: “Benjamin Franklin: From Royal Subject to Citizen of the Republic” talk by CCC Professor Emeritus Robert Lorenzi, 7 p.m., Civic Hall, Connector Building.


 Feb. 10: “Who Was Benjamin Franklin?” talk by CCC Professor Patrick “Donnie” Hughes, 7 p.m., Civic Hall, Connector Building.


 Feb. 17: “Franklin in His Own Words,” a spoken-word production of The Readers’ Theatre Project of American Literature, followed by a discussion led by CCC Franklin project director Joan Getaz, 7 p.m. Civic Hall, Connector Building.


 Feb. 24: “Franklin’s Inventions and Discoveries” talk by Independence Park Institute presenter Keith Haines, 7 p.m., Civic Hall, Connector Building.


Camden County College is an official New Jersey Professional Development Provider. As a result, state-certified teachers may earn approved professional development credit for attending the presentations.


Though admission is free, members of the College and local community should register for the presentations in advance to ensure seating. Attending teachers also should register in advance to receive their professional development credit.


For an online registration form or for additional details regarding the lectures, visit The Center for Civic Leadership and Responsibility may be contacted at (856) 227-7200, ext. 4333, or Further details about the exhibit are available online at

Published: January 21, 2011