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The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion Transforms The Franklin Institute

Installation of Signature Your Brain Exhibit Underway Grand Opening Celebration Set for June 14, 2014

PHILADELPHIA, March 27, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, the largest and most significant expansion in The Franklin Institute's  history will open to the public in grand-scale fashion on Saturday, June 14, 2014.  The 53,000 square-foot, $41 million dollar pavilion, named in honor of the lead donors whose commitment to science and technology education brought the project to fruition, will transform The Franklin Institute in a myriad of ways adding to the appeal of Philadelphia's cultural mecca, the Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The three-story expansion will become home to the museum's largest permanent exhibition, Your Brain, a climate-controlled traveling exhibition gallery, a state-of -the-art conference center, and an expansive new education center.  

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia will open the largest and most significant expansion in the museum's history on June 14, 2014.  The 53,000 square-foot Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will become home to the museum's largest permanent exhibition called Your Brain, a climate-controlled traveling exhibition gallery, a state-of -the-art conference center, and an expansive new education center.  A 3,000 square foot Shimmer Wall designed by world-renowned artist Ned Kahn will drape the facade of the new expansion, adding to the artistic appeal of Philadelphia's iconic Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

"We are extremely grateful to Nicholas and Athena Karabots for their extraordinary generosity, which has allowed us to move The Franklin Institute forward," said Dennis M. Wint, President and CEO, The Franklin Institute. "The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will significantly transform the Institute and catapult it into a magnificent new chapter, allowing for exponential growth and opportunity on a multitude of levels."  

Signature Your Brain Exhibition
The centerpiece of The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion is the signature Your Brain exhibition, sponsored by Teva Pharmaceuticals.  With over 70 interactive experiences, the 8,500 square foot Your Brain exhibition will be the largest permanent exhibit at The Franklin Institute, and in the country, dedicated to the most complex and misunderstood vital organ in our bodies. The exploration-driven exhibition will help visitors understand that the brain and the nervous system underlie all human behavior, appreciate that the brain is always changing, and contemplate the potential of our evolving knowledge of the brain to transform ourselves and society. Stunning interactive technology will make visitors an integral part of the exhibit experience as they travel through a two-story climbing structure, simulating a neural network with dynamic lighting and sound effects that are triggered by their footsteps. They will use their brains to explore their world by traveling through a street scene filled with multi-sensory information and scenarios from everyday life. Real specimens and visualizations contributed by scientists all over the country, along with interactive experiences inspired by cutting-edge research, will illustrate the fascinating and rapidly advancing world of neuroscience. Your Brain will be housed in the Frank Baldino, Jr. Gallery of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion.

Traveling Exhibit Gallery
The third floor of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will add 8,000 square feet of climate-controlled gallery space, which will give the Institute a total of 18,000 square feet of traveling exhibit space when combined with existing space in the Mandell Center. The space will allow the Institute to attract larger, more complex world-class traveling exhibits, including those that require precise climate control capabilities to preserve priceless artifacts.  This summer, three traveling exhibits will debut at The Franklin Institute, coinciding with the opening of Your Brain and the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, all included with general museum admission.

The inaugural exhibit in the new gallery, Circus! Science under the Big Top opens to the public on June 14 and explores the scientific secrets behind many popular circus acts.  Test the laws of physics by launching cannon balls, walking tightropes, and flipping like trapeze artists.  (June 14-September 1)

From the creation of the incandescent light bulbs to penicillin and the World Wide Web, take a closer look at the inventions that helped steer human history in 101 Inventions That Changed the World.  The exhibition that centers around an immersive 5,000 square foot multi-screen media environment will be making its debut in the Mandell Center on opening day. (June 14October 26)

Embark on an unprecedented journey into the depths of the ocean with renowned photographer Brian Skerry and be whisked away to a breathtaking underwater oasis in a new photographic exhibit by National Geographic, Ocean Soul. Fifty stunning photographs showcase the ocean as a place of both beauty and mystery, and a place in trouble.  These poetic images shed light on overlooked sea creatures, in turn creating an appreciation for them and an awareness of the need for conservation. National Geographic's Ocean Soul will be on view in the Pendulum Gallery at The Franklin Institute (May 16–December 6)

Education Center and Conference Center
The highly-advanced Education Center will broaden The Franklin Institute's educational landscape regionally, nationally, and internationally.  The enhanced space will be fully wireless and equipped with videoconferencing technology, to allow the Institute to develop and grow its distance learning capabilities, providing virtual, engaging, and highly interactive STEM learning experiences to students and teachers around the globe.   It will also allow the Institute to expand upon its existing cluster of educational youth programs which are aimed at providing access to underprivileged students, critical to the mission of The Franklin Institute and the vision of Nicholas and Athena Karabots

Complete with a private street-level entrance, and framed by a beautiful terrace and tranquil rain garden, the 3,000 square-foot Conference Center will feature advanced audio visual and lighting components, ergonomic chairs, hard surface tables, and private break-out rooms. Added convenience features include a full-service business center, concierge service, and dedicated conference planners. The state-of-the-art Conference Center will put The Franklin Institute on the map among the International Association of Conference Centers (IACC). 

Art plus Science    
Shimmer Wall, Sunlit-filled Atrium, Rain Garden
The Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion will highlight the close connections between science and art by incorporating a number of spectacular architectural and aesthetic elements.  The open layout of the three-story addition will allow for improved visitor flow and circulation throughout The Franklin Institute, and continues the vision of the nation's oldest science museum, which was halted during the Great Depression.  It will receive LEED certification at the Silver Level.  The exterior of the new pavilion is comprised of the same Indiana limestone as the original building, and incorporates noticeably modern features, such as a sustainable rain garden to mitigate storm-water drainage, an elegant sunlight-filled atrium connecting the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial to the new pavilion, and a dramatic kinetic Shimmer Wall by world-renowned environmental artist Ned Kahn which drapes the façade of the pavilion.  The first of its kind in Philadelphia, the 3,000 square foot kinetic Shimmer Wall is designed to mirror the sky and make wind and other natural weather elements visible. Kahn's Shimmer Wall is a network of 10,824 five-inch-square clear-anodized aluminum panels hinged at one side only and able to freely move in the wind. During the day, the ever-changing wind pressure profile on the building appears as undulating waves. At night, this movement is converted into a very subtle light.  The Shimmer Wall will be named in honor of Marsha Perelman, who, throughout her eight-year tenure as board chair, provided ambitious leadership to The Franklin Institute and the Inspire Science campaign, which raised $65.2 million for projects including the construction of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion

SAVE THE DATE: Members of the media are invited to an exclusive preview of the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 at 11:00am.   

Invitation to follow

NOTE TO EDITORS: A high resolution rendering of the

Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion is available for download at the below site:

http://www2.fi.edu/press/images-and-media/continuingexhibits/gallery_full/karabots1.jpg

User: press; Password: images

About The Franklin Institute
Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania's most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science and technology by offering access to hands-on science education. In June 2014, The Franklin Institute will open the Nicholas and Athena Karabots Pavilion, a brand-new 53,000 square foot addition which will feature a permanent signature exhibition called Your Brain.  For more information, visit www.fi.edu.

The Franklin Institute.

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SOURCE The Franklin Institute

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