The Franklin Institute was founded in 1824, by Samuel Vaughan Merrick and William H. Keating in order to forward the Mechanic Arts. The institute was originally located in the Philadelphia County Court House, known today as Independance Hall. The institute was to honor Benjamin Franklin and further his inventions. The Institute later moved to Seventh Street, between Market and Chestnut Streets, to the building that is now the Atwater Kent Museum where it remained for its first century.

The Franklin Institute and the Poor Richard Club started to seek funds for a new science museum and memorial hall in 1930. It only took them 12 days to raise a sum of 5.1 million dollars (which seems really fast to me). In 1932 the cornerstone was laid for the new building at 20th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, the current location. The next year construction began on the Fels Planetarium, the second planetarium in America donated by Samuel S. Fels.

The Franklin Institute Science Museum opened to the public on the first of January 1934. The mission of the Museum is to stimulate interest in science, to promote public understanding of science, and to strengthen science education. The current Franklin Institute contains a giant walk through heart, and the Tuttleman IMAX Theater originally the Mandell Center, Tuttleman Omniverse Theater.