Pulse: Player: Rosalind Remer

A rebel with a cause plans Franklin’s big three-oh-oh

It wasn’t easy to woo Ros Remer away from teaching early American history at Moravian College, but Ben Franklin has always been a charmer. And Remer couldn’t resist throwing his 300th birthday bash. “No one in Philadelphia history has had more influence on our lives,” says Remer, 42, the executive director of the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, who starts the party this month with a street fair to celebrate teenage Ben’s arrival here from Boston. (He officially turns 300 on January 17th; for event info, visit benfranklin300.org.) 

Remer’s first task was to decide which aspects of Franklin’s long and diverse life to focus on for the tercentenary’s centerpiece exhibition, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, opening at the Constitution Center in December. The show will travel the U.S. before closing in 2008 in France, famously cajoled by Franklin into supporting the nascent Revolutionary War. “We think he’s more relevant than ever,” says Remer. “We wanted to highlight his ability to build community, his diplomatic skills, the thoughtful compromises he was able to make.” In other words, all that seems to be lacking in the nation these days? Rabble-rouser! Remer laughs. “I think he would be proud.”