Antonia Contro

Among all of Benjamin Franklin’s many gifts to Philadelphia and the nation - free libraries, fire companies, lightning rods, bifocals, and the University of Pennsylvania - The American Philosophical Society, founded in 1743,  is one of his rarer gems.

Despite the large statue of Franklin above the main entrance, many people may unknowingly walk right past the centuries-old Society, which is discreetly housed in a neo-classical building in Old City.