Digital Restoration: Youthful Ben Franklin Statue
Beginning with his 1749 pamphlet, "Proposals Relating to the Education of Youth in Pensilvania", Franklin founded America's first University, the University of Pennsylvania, prior to the start of the revolutionary war. Franklin was president of the University from 1749 to 1755 and remained on the Board of Trustees until his death in 1790.
In 1902, members of the Class of 1904 realized there were no memorial to their founder anywhere on campus and decided to dedicate a memorial of Franklin to their alma mater upon their tenth class reunion. During the years after their graduation, the class was able to raise the $10,000 necessary to produce the memorial statue. Robert Tait McKenzie, a professor at the University, was chosen to sculpt the statue.
McKenzie and representatives of the Class of 1904 decided the statue should show Franklin as he would have looked upon his arrival in Philadelphia at the age of 17 (the age of today's typical college freshman) when he would have had very little personal property, no job and no idea of what the future would bring. Little is known about exactly what Franklin would have looked like when he first arrived, but using artists' depictions and studying the later portraits and busts, McKenzie sculpted what Franklin may have looked like before his fame and old age alike.
The statue was officially dedicated on June 16, 1914 and embodies a quotation of Franklin to his son that is included on one side of the base of the statue, "I have been the more particular in this description of my journey that you may compare such unlikely beginnings with the figure I have since made there."
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Create a 3D digital model of the Youthful Benjamin Franklin Statue to that can be used to produce scaled editions for sale at the University of Pennsylvania Bookstore and as a special donor gift. return to full slide show
Replicas and Editions
Enlargements and Reductions
Crating and Exhibits
Research and Analysis
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