It all started with a comic book!
Marvel is celebrating 80 years of comics! Wow! Look how far they’ve come in that 80 years. Now Marvel has not just comic books, but MOVIES, games, and more.
Last week, I had a chance to get a special preview of the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes exhibit at the Franklin Institute. I have to tell you I have been waiting anxiously for almost a year for this exhibit. I remember first seeing those announcement signs around the Franklin Institute. I knew once Marvel hit the Franklin Institute it would be hard to keep my boys away. So like you, we just might be headed back up there to see it this spring break and over and over again in the summer months. When we do, I’ll be sure to add their review here.
Allow me to first give you a glimpse of what I experienced during the press conference. I’ve merged in audio and commentary from Franklin Institute President & CEO Larry Dubinski, Marvel Editor in Chief C. B. Cebulski, and Chief Curator Ben Saunders along with some of my favorite pictures from the exhibit.
Don’t wait! Get out those calendars and start planning your visit. Review our list below and then get that date on your calendar.
10 Things to Do at Marvel Universe of Super Heroes at The Franklin Institute
See a movie about Marvel
As you enter the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes at The Franklin Institute you’ll pass old black and white photos of kids reading comics and enter a large room. On a large screen you’ll have the chance to watch a video that details the history of Marvel. From its origin in comics to today’s movies and more, the films covers as much as it can in just a few minutes.
Read classic comics from the past and modern times.
What would the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes exhibit be without comic books to read? The Marvel exhibit features artwork that displays older comics in glass cases. Framed artwork and wall murals show comic scenes from earlier years up until today. In fact, one of the most valuable comics on display is the first comic book Marvel ever published, title Marvel Comics #1. It was published in 1939.
“I need to learn to read, so that I can read this.” – Marvel Universe of Super Heroes exhibit Chief Curator Ben Saunders”
Watch old Marvel television shows with super heroes.
Throughout the multi-level Marvel Universe of Super Heroes exhibit there are areas where visitors can watch TV shows from the past. Step up to the screen. Hold the special earpiece to your ear and press play. I found at least 4 sets of screens with superhero TV episodes.
Watch episodes, opening theme music, and scenes from
- The Incredible Hulk
Pose for a picture with a super hero
The Marvel Universe of Super Heroes exhibit decor at The Franklin Institute is colorful, vibrant, and vivid. You’ll find yourself stopping the kids every few steps to take another picture of them up against something. But what stood out more than anything else were the larger-than-life statues of Marvel super heroes. They make for the best photo opps in the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes.
The Best Photo Ops for Marvel Universe of Super Hereos pictures for Instagram
- Sit with The Thing on the couch. Be on the lookout for action happening in the window scene behind you.
- Tell Spiderman a secret.
- Stare down Groot.
- Get mad with the Incredible Hulk.
- Pounce with the Black Panther
- Chat with Ms. Marvel.
- Stop and smile infront of the backdrops. There is one at the entrance to the Marvel Super Heroes exhibit and another before you enter the exhibit on the second floor.
- Stand with the life-size cutouts in the Marvel Universe of Superheroes gift shop at the end of the exhibit.
Pay your respects at the tribute to Stan Lee
What can you say about Stan Lee? Comic book writer, editor, publisher, producer, iconic figure with a legacy none of us will soon forget. His impact has extended to everything that carries the Marvel name. As part of the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes exhibit, there is a wall designed in tribute to Stan Lee.
Vote for your favorite super hero
Step up to the booth and vote for your favorite super hero. There are 20 to choose from. Once you press the button to vote, you’ll see a special message from that super hero on a television in the nearby display case.
Study the Marvel artifacts
This Marvel Super Heroes exhibit features more than 300 artifacts, including some of Marvel’s most iconic artwork and comic pages, costumes, and props. If you’re a comic book collector, new or old, you’ll be thrilled with the variety of the exhibit: set pieces, soundscapes, and interactive elements.
Learn what goes into creating a Marvel superhero comic book
When I first started dating my husband he was a big comic book collector. He still is. He would tell me about Jim Lee, Stan Lee, Marc Silvestri, and other comic book artists. One person draws the art. Another person inks in the design. Another … I learned early on that several people work together to create comic books. The Marvel exhibit at the Franklin Institute helps fans and guests explore the making of a comic book.
Walk through Dr. Strange’s Mirror Dimension
Almost like a scene from a Marvel movie, you can walk through Dr. Strange’s room of mirrors and illusions.
Add to your collection of Marvel memorabilia
As you finish walking through Marvel Universe of Super Heroes, the exhibit exits to a gift shop. Find plush characters, super hero t-shirts, Marvel LEGO sets, and more. My favorite is this encyclopodia for the Marvel Universe exhibit. As journalists we were each given a copy. I could barely get the plastic off before one of my teenagers tried to claim it as his own. The book goes into detail about the history of Marvel and the creation of this exhibit.
My Review of the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes at The Franklin Institute
I enjoyed the Marvel Universe exhibit. I found the wall art to be colorful and engaging. The television screens and voting booths added an interactive element that younger children will appreciate. The larger-than-life statues will make it easy for parents to convince their kids to take selfies with them. The exhibit is defintely geared heavily to the comic book fans. Most of the wall art is dedicated to comic books and comic book art.
I was disappointed not to find as many interactive elements as previous Franklin Institute exhibits. There are no costumes to try on, games to play, or weapons to hold and touch. There are no virtual reality activities. While there are the large statues (Incredible Hulk, Black Panther, and Spiderman) to take pictures with I’m concerned there may not be enough to keep the attention of younger children or one who isn’t a big comic book or super hero fan.
Marvel Universe of Super Heroes is best geared to those looking for a museum-like experience to learn more about their favorite comic books and super heroes. It’s certainly more exciting than most museum exhibits with it’s attractive, eye catching murals and displays. But with nearly everything in display cases it very much has that museum feel to it.
Tips for the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes
- Buy tickets online to save time and avoid lines! At the time of the press conference over 60,000 tickets had been sold to this exhibit. You don’t want to arrive at the Franklin Institute only to find the exhibit sold out. To get your tickets to visit the Marvel Universe of Super Heroes please visit their site here.
- The exhibit spans two floors. Make sure when you leave the first area you walk up the ramp to the second area.
- Make sure your phone is charged for all those selfies with the super heroes you are going to want to take.
- Encourage your kids to find things they can watch.
- There’s action going on in the window behind The Thing.
- In the Ant Man area display case a variety of short films are projected onto small screens.
- See above for the details on television shows kids can watch as part of the exhibit.
- For younger children who have a tendency to get bored quickly, turn the exhibit into a scavenger hunt of sorts. They can
- look for the tiny ants from Ant-Man,
- count the number of super heroes on display,
- imagine what Ms. Marvel or Groot is thinking,
- find the oldest and newest artifact,
- and any other ideas you can come up with.
- When taking pictures with the statues be mindful of shadows the statues might cast on your bodies or faces. For example, it’s tempting to pose infront of the Hulk, under his hand. However, doing so will cast a shadow on the person. It’s better to stand to the right where Spiderman posed. The lighting will be more flattering.
- To save on tickets to the exhibit consider buying an evening ticket. Those tickets include entry to Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes after 5 pm but not general admission to the Franklin Institute. Exhibit closes at 8 pm.
- Evening tickets are $15 for children (ages 3-11) and $20 for adults (12 and older)
- Regular tickets with general admission are $31 for children (ages 3-11) and $35 for adults (12 and older)
- General admission ONLY without Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is $19 for children (ages 3-11) and $23 for adults (12 and older)
- Discounted Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes tickets are available for Franklin Institute members $12 each regardless of age.
Want to read more about visiting the Franklin Institute?
Visit our Franklin Institute series.
What will be one of your favorite things to do at Marvel Universe of Super Heroes at The Franklin Institute?
To learn more visit the Franklin Institute website.