Blockbuster Marvel Exhibition Takes Over The Franklin Institute, April 13 – September 2

Comic and movie enthusiasts have something new to geek out about this spring and summer in Philadelphia.

The East Coast premiere of Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, a new exhibition on view at the The Franklin Institute from April 13 – September 2, brings to life one of the most iconic comic-book franchises in history.

Even better: The exhibition is totally reimagined for its debut in the City of Brotherly Love.


  • Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is open April 13 to September 2 at The Franklin Institute.
  • The exhibit features more than 300 original artifacts, including costumes from Marvel films.
  • Among the items on display is the first-ever Marvel comic book, published in 1939.
  • Tickets are $20-$35 for adults and $15-$31 for youth aged 3-11.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes celebrates the 80th anniversary of the Marvel franchise with tons of original artwork, first-edition comic book covers and pages, interactive displays, and costumes and props from popular Marvel Studios blockbusters, including — for the first time in the exhibit’s history — the getup recently worn by Brie Larson in Captain Marvel.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes spreads out over 15,000 square feet and several open galleries inside The Franklin Institute.

The rooms are laid out chronologically, providing guests with an immersive visual history of Marvel and its impact on pop culture since its first publication hit magazine stands in 1939.

(Photo by S. Vanini for the Museum of Pop Culture)
Black Panther, Captain America, Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk and fellow super-friends and foes star in the East Coast debut of the new Marvel exhibition at The Franklin Institute.

The Marvel story unfolds through 300 artifacts, colorful visual graphics, informative wall placards, interactive computer displays and one five-minute film at the beginning of the exhibition.

Whole galleries are dedicated to some of the most popular characters and super-hero teams, like Black Panther, Spider-Man, Fantastic Four and The Avengers.

Guests can also snuggle up to — and take selfies with — life-size versions of characters like The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man and The Thing, the lovable beast from Fantastic Four who’s spread out on a couch in one of the first galleries.

Three digital workshop studios give hardcore fans the chance to explore the ins and outs of comic-book production and get a lesson on some of the illustrators behind the heroes, such as Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

A long red carpet in the first exhibition room takes visitors to what is perhaps the most prized item on display in the exhibition: a copy of Marvel’s very first comic book, published in 1939.

A father and son look at Captain America's shield in the new Marvel exhibition The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia

(Photo by J. Pulley for the Museum of Pop Culture)
Original props — like this shield from the Captain America movies — from the super-popular Marvel films shine in the new exhibition.

That same room also features the only surviving original page from that book, showing how some of the earliest versions of the stories were sketched out in simple black and white.

Other original artworks include early hand-drawn Black Panther pages sketched by Billy Graham, the first African American to draw the famed character from Wakanda; an original interior page from the first issue of X-Men; and The Incredible Hulk #102 cover, as drawn by one of the few women to work at Marvel in the 1960s, Marie Severin.

The impressive collection of costumes and props from various Marvel films may the exhibit’s biggest draw — especially for casual fans. Look out for garb worn by Chris Evans in Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman in Black Panther and Chris Hemsworth in Thor: The Dark World. One of the last galleries, an homage to Ms. Marvel, features the Kree suit worn by Brie Larson in 2019’s Captain Marvel.

(Photo by S. Vanini for the Museum of Pop Culture)
Exhibition-goers can come face to face with some of their favorite Marvel characters, including Groot from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Fans of Doctor Strange can stroll into the exhibition room dedicated to the Sorcerer Supreme. Floor-to-ceiling mirrors line the room, which is boosted with spacey graphics blasted onto the walls and thoughtfully placed display cases holding costumes and props from the 2016 Doctor Strange film. Those include a robe worn by Tilda Swinton, the Eye of Agamotto, and a cloak, shirt and tunic worn by the film’s star, Benedict Cumberbatch.

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is on view this spring and summer at The Franklin Institute through September 2.

Admission for the exhibition between 9:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. is $35 for adults and $31 for youth aged 3-11. That includes general admission to The Franklin Institute.

A child poses with The Thing at the Marvel exhibition

(Photo by C. Mitchell for the Museum of Pop Culture)
Snap a selfie with The Thing, Black Panther, The Incredible Hulk and other life-size versions of Marvel’s famous characters.

Those wanting to visit later — a good time if you want to avoid the biggest crowds — can visit between 5 and 8 p.m. Admission for those times is cheaper but doesn’t include admission to the rest of the museum: $20 for adults and $15 for 3- to 11-year olds.

Note, too, that The Franklin Institute extends its hours throughout the opening run of Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes, when the museum will be open every day from April 13 to 28 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Don’t miss your chance to rub shoulders with these comic legends!

When:April 13 – September 2
Where:The Franklin Institute, 222 N. 20th Street
Cost:$20-35, adult; $15-$31, youth 3-11; free, kids under 3



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