The New York City Zoo was recently awarded a $1 million grant from the New York State Department of Parks and Recreation to fund a new museum in honor of the late Benjamin Franklin.
The zoo was chosen after an extensive review process.
“This museum is part of our efforts to honor Franklin, who was a visionary for the preservation of natural habitats and an innovator in the study of plants and animals,” said George H. Smith, the New Jersey Zoo’s acting director and a professor emeritus of botany and plant pathology.
“Our research on plants and wildlife has inspired many people to discover more about our shared planet and to understand our shared history.”
The zoo will create a new exhibit called “Museum of Plants and Animals,” and will include an exhibit on Franklin’s life, as well as new exhibits on the Franklin Zoo’s founding and later life.
The museum will also incorporate a collection of artifacts from the Franklin Gardens, including two specimens of the endangered American Chestnut, which the zoo has been trying to save since 1976.
The museum’s goal is to preserve the Franklin gardens, which are in decline due to pollution, habitat loss and climate change, as a natural habitat.
The gardens will be preserved in perpetuity, and Franklin will be honored as one of the first gardeners, said the zoo’s vice president of conservation, Dan Dutton.
“Franklin’s legacy is a treasure chest of science and research, and we want to preserve it,” he said.
The Franklin Gardens were established by Benjamin Franklin in 1797 and were named after the American astronomer.
Franklin’s granddaughter, Martha M. Franklin, was the first woman to be appointed a vice president at the zoo.