Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, by Benjamin West, circa 1816.
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Benjamin Franklin is dressed in black with a red cape flowing across and behind him in this painting. He is shown drawing electricity from the sky into his outstretched hand. Angels assist him both by holding the string and guarding the bottles of electricity he has collected. One of the angels is depicted as a Native American.

Credit: Courtesy Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Benjamin Franklin's (1706-1790) support of public and private education, and cultural institutions extended far beyond Philadelphia. Recognizing the important role education needed to play in maintaining William Penn's vision, Franklin exerted tremendous influence on the refinement of education and civic culture in late eighteenth century Pennsylvania. Franklin's innate curiosity and his fascination with science and secular philosophy led to a mini-Renaissance in Philadelphia that added to the capital city's luster in the new nation.

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