The Benjamin Franklin Parkway is celebrating its 100th birthday! Come celebrate with the Parkway Central Library and our Parkway neighbors!
The centennial celebration will kick off on Friday, September 8 with the "We Are Connected" Festival, presented by the Parkway Council in partnership with PECO and offering 100 family-friendly activities throughout the Parkway Museums District, including extended hours and free or pay-what-you-wish museum admission that evening. Parkway Central will be open until 10:00 p.m., welcoming visitors to all departments and to special exhibitions on each floor of the building.
Children can even come "build their own Parkway" with LEGOs and wooden blocks in the Central Children’s Department from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and gamers can check out a virtual Parkway Central rebuilt in Minecraft, on display in the Main Lobby.
Here’s a sneak peek of the other new and continuing special attractions you can explore during the festival:
Corridor of Culture: 100 Years of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway │ West Gallery, 1st Floor
Ribbon Cutting – September 8 │ 5:00 p.m.
September 8, 2017–May 2018
This exhibition honors the Free Library’s home on the grand avenue that has connected Philadelphia’s City Hall with the entrance to Fairmount Park and linked the heart of the city to the natural wonders of Pennsylvania. The exhibition features photographs, artwork, and memories of the creation and use of the Benjamin Franklin Parkway over the last century. It explores moments from the history of the Parkway, touching on examples of the art, faith, science, and community that reside together on Philadelphia’s grand corridor of culture. Corridor of Culture is made possible through a grant from the Independence Foundation.
Mural Arts Monument Lab Installation │ Skyline Room, 4th Floor
September 8 │4:00–9:00 p.m.
Sunday, September 24 │ 2:00–4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 27 │ 4:00–9:00 p.m.
Sundays, October 1–November 19 │ 2:00–4:30 p.m.
On September 8, visitors can explore the premiere showing of Logan Squared: Ode to Philly, by sound and installation artist Emeka Ogboh, featuring Ursula Rucker. Part of the Mural Arts Monument Lab—a public art and history project taking place across Philadelphia in the fall of 2017—the project invites people to join a citywide conversation about history, memory, and our collective future. Logan Squared features an epic poem by Rucker over an original choral arrangement by Ogboh. Originally from Lagos, Nigeria and currently residing in Berlin, Ogboh transposes, inserts, and installs sounds in diverse locations to contemplate compelling issues surrounding migration, globalization, and post colonialism, among other topics. He is a 2014 DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst) grant recipient, the cofounder of the Video Art Network Lagos, and the winner of the 2016 Prize of the Böttcherstraße in Bremen.
A Tale of Two Sister Cities: Philadelphia and Tianjin │ Gallery, 2nd Floor
Through October 20
This photography exhibition explores the connections and differences between Philadelphia and Tianjin, China. Through 60 original images, displayed alongside materials from the Free Library, photographers from both cities reveal the street life, people, architecture, nature, and culture of these two vibrant cultural capitals.
Pepper Hall: The Founder’s Legacy │ Art Hallway Gallery, 2nd Floor
Through November 5
Named after the Free Library’s founder, Dr. William Pepper, Pepper Hall is a large, bright room on the north side of the Parkway Central Library that originally housed the Free Library’s art and architecture collections. In celebration of Parkway Central’s 90th anniversary, this exhibition shows books purchased beginning in 1895 with the George S. Pepper (Dr. Pepper’s uncle) Fund, early gifts, books purchased in 1927 when the building opened, and early photos of the room.
From Proposal to Project: Philadelphia’s Parkway, 1884–1937 │ Map Collection, 2nd Floor
September 8 – November 5
Highlighting materials from our Map Collection, this exhibition delves into the complicated history of the Parkway’s initial proposal, its iterations of building plans, and its triumphant renaming. Learn about the inspiration and reasons for its development, the groups and people who advocated for it, and the designers that played an instrumental part in making the Parkway what it is today. Come learn about the Parkway’s past during the critical years of 1884 to 1937.
Becoming the Detective: The Making of a Genre │ Rare Book Department, 3rd Floor
Through September 30
This exhibition, part of We the Detectives, explores detective stories on stage, radio, film, television, and in board games like Clue. The exhibition features Edgar Allan Poe’s manuscript for "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," movie posters of Sherlock Holmes, first editions of Hardy Boys novels, and Choose Your Own Adventure books. Visitors should catch this exhibition before it gets away at the end of September.
The cultural district open house on September 8, running from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. up and down the Parkway, will feature inside and outside entertainment, giant dot-to-dot puzzles of the Parkway attractions, and a nighttime hot-air-balloon glow to visually define the Parkway Museums District destination after dark. The Parkway 100 celebration will continue through November 2018 with exhibitions, events, community conversations, and promotions. For more information about the Parkway100 year-long celebration, visit parkway100.org.