Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
December 29, 2015
J Mendel at the Plaza Hotel
December 29, 2015
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Ben Franklin’s Ghost

This interactive exhibit was created in collaboration with the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. Students at the ETC combined old technology with new to create a great experience for young and old alike.

Philadelphia actor Ralph Archbald has made a career of playing Benjamin Franklin. In this exhibit, he appears as a ghost answering questions poised by the visitors. Questions are asked via touch screens built into the book mounted on the front of the exhibit structure. Many questions are pre-programmed with answers, guests can also ask their own questions and the technology finds the closest answer, or the best political dodge available.

Franklin/Archbald appears as a 21st Century Pepper’s Ghost; 19th century stage technology we have all experienced in one way of another. If you have ever seen the film of A Christmas Carol, the ghosts that visit Scrooge are Pepper’s Ghosts. If you have ever been on any of the Haunted Mansion experiences at any of the Disney Parks; the ghosts that appear are Pepper’s Ghosts.

In short, a Pepper’s Ghost is a reflection off of an angled surface. Hopefully the most optically pure angled surface possible. In this case the reflection is from a video projector.

Highly engaging, and installed in the Historic Center of Philadelphia

 

29-Franklin's Ghost final photo
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