Vatican Splendors - 6abc Loves the Arts

September 24, 2015 (WPVI) -- If Pope Francis has inspired you to learn more about the history of the papacy the Franklin Institute has the perfect exhibit. You can now experience two thousand years of Vatican art and history with their new exhibit Vatican Splendors, one of the largest Vatican collections to ever tour North America.

Franklin Institute President and CEO Larry Dubinski is excited by the potential. "This a fantastic exhibit. Over 200 objects from the Vatican Museums on display here in Philadelphia. Forty percent of the objects which have not traveled outside of Rome."

With 11 galleries spanning 10,000 square feet the exhibit will illustrate the evolution of the church and its papacy.

"Pieces that popes have used in the past and were in the pope's private collection that we have been able to bring forward," says Dubinski. "They're going to see a variety of pieces of artwork. They're going to see relics. They're really going to see this historical documentation of the last 2000 years and the Vatican's impact on culture for those 2000 years."

Relics include bones of St. Peter and Paul and tools used by Michelangelo himself. As Dubinski explains, there is great history to explore. "You are going to see things that other Popes have used before and pieces that were used during masses that people may have seen before on display to the public."

The idea is for exhibit goers to feel like they are walking through the Vatican with immersive experiences throughout. "You will feel like you are looking up and working on the scaffold like Michelangelo did," says Dubinski. "You'll be able to touch a bronze cast of Saint John Paul the second."

There's even a message from Pope Francis. "Along with all the objects that came from Italy, one of the things was a letter from Pope Francis really encourages people to explore this exhibition," says Dubinski, "and look at the beauty that's here look at their inner beauty and take that with them so their inspired throughout the exhibition."

Vatican Splendors is that the Franklin Institute until February 15th, 2016. For more information go to, or you can visit for other area events.
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