Benjamin Franklin did his seminal work on lightning protection while living in Philadelphia. It is not surprising then that the Philadelphia Museum of Art honors its home-town hero with two lightning-related artworks. The first hangs on a Museum wall — the iconic painting of Franklin’s kite-flying experiment. The second is on its roof — a new lightning protection system (LPS) based on Franklin’s time-tested discoveries. While few visitors notice the system, its craftsmanship raises it to the level of art.
The lightning protection was installed as part of a major restoration of the Museum’s exterior, built in 1928. Limestone walls and terracotta ornaments were cleaned and repaired and, to prevent further water damage, approximately 2,000 feet of stainless steel gutters and a new roof drainage system were installed.