Press Clipping

The Franklin Institute, one of the leading science centers in the nation, has joined forces with metaverse development studio MELON to create CurioCity, an all-new immersive Roblox experience launching today at 6 pm ET on the popular platform. CurioCity (pronounced Curiosity) is available for free on Roblox, a global online platform connecting millions of people through shared experiences. Designed for players of all ages, CurioCity turns astronomy and physiology into fun, immersive and interactive experiences featuring two escape room mini-games that take visitors inside the human body and through an exploration of space as they solve puzzles and complete tasks to escape and earn rewards and virtual badges.

With today’s launch, the Franklin Institute becomes one of only a handful of science museums worldwide that have taken the leap into the metaverse, providing new opportunities to entertain and educate young learners worldwide.

“Metaverse platforms like Roblox are a logical next step for The Franklin Institute, providing a highly relevant medium to connect with future audiences at a young age and pique their curiosity about science and technology,” said Franklin Institute Chief Experience and Strategy Officer Abby Bysshe. “Through CurioCity on Roblox, we are reaching a community of young thinkers where they are already socializing, creating, and sharing experiences together with friends, and are introducing valuable insights and resources to these new audiences in a highly engaging and entertaining way.”

When visitors enter CurioCity, they discover the many different ways to customize their avatars and the look of Benji-Bot, their trusted robot companion who will answer questions and provide information. They will then embark on various mini-games, including two timed escape rooms, one on a moon base and one dedicated to the human body. Community members can work solo or collaborate with others to escape by completing puzzles and tasks, earning rewards, and collecting pet morphs and other virtual items as they learn scientific methods and facts.

“We designed this experience to be fun and to capture some of the thrills of exploration and discovery that have always spurred scientific progress,” Josh Neuman, co-CEO at MELON, explains. “Though it’s all about what works in Roblox, the Franklin Institute’s exhibits, collections, and overall philosophy inspired many of the elements we incorporated into the games, and we collaborated closely on the unique visual world we created.”

The metaverse is a new frontier that promises to expand the reach of museums and science centers, which adds to existing physical exhibits and virtual programming. For the last two centuries, the Franklin Institute has worked to present science and its discoveries in accessible ways that are meaningful to different audiences through programs, innovative exhibits, and, more recently—podcasts, videos, and other digital experiences grounded in science and technology.

“Educational experiences have become a priority at MELON,” says Heather Healy, SVP of Partnerships & Operations. “We are focused on creating educational games that not only teach important topics but are high fidelity, fun to explore, and exciting to play. The Roblox platform is perfect for that elevated learning experience.”