Ben Franklin Re-Invented

Very nice article and video about David Mitchell of Crossville (TN?): school presentation with armonica music.

Swim fins, bifocals and the glass harmonica are just a few of the inventions Benjamin Franklin showed off when he visited the Spring Hill Public Library Tuesday.

The politician, inventor and newspaper publisher — portrayed by David Mitchell of Crossville —stopped by as part of the library’s summer reading program to educate children — and adults — about his scientific contributions. From demonstrations on typesetting to static electricity, participants learned about Franklin’s experiments, his love for books and how he developed his first invention at the age of nine.

Children’s Library Marsha Gallardo said Mitchell does the presentation through Mobile Ed Productions, a company that provides interactive programs for schools, libraries and other groups. Gallardo said Franklin’s love of science and inventing goes hand-in-hand with the theme for this year’s summer reading program: Fizz, Boom Read.

“We are super excited to have such high quality entertainment for our community,” Gallardo said. “It’s amazing how many things you didn’t realize after watching the presentation. It’s really great to see history come to life.”

Mitchell has portrayed Franklin for 10 years, and while he does four other programs for Mobile Ed, Mitchell said the Benjamin Franklin presentation is the only one he does in character. The program has taken him from New Hampshire to California in previous years.

“I have been involved in teaching my entire adult life,” Mitchell said. “This brings history to life. History can be boring, and was for me in school. This lets kids meet a character and learn he was a lot like them. Franklin, in particular, inspired a lot of patriotism. He was one of this country’s first rags-to-riches stories and was a real self-starter.”

Though he has portrayed Franklin for years, Mitchell said he is always learning something new about one of the nation’s most famous Founding Fathers.

“I have about 50 books about Franklin, and I am always learning new things,” he said. “He was called the American DaVinci because he was so multi-faceted. He was a man who loved to learn.”

– See more at: The Columbia Daily Herald