Conference Planning & Consulting for Special Projects
John began organizing seminars for staff and symposia for the public in the Smithsonian’s Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. There, he organized the “African Americans and the Evolution of a Living Constitution Symposium” with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies as part of the observance of the Bicentennial of the U.S. Constitution. International symposia included “Scientific Progress and Human Rights” with the University of Virginia and the National Academy of Science. He launched a two-year seminar for Smithsonian staff on cultural diversity.
Franklin has attended the annual meeting of the Association of African American Museums since 1989 and served as its program chair five times. He has regularly attended the Association of American Museums and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He is often asked to keynote national and international conferences. For example, he participated in the Musee du Quai Branly symposium, "Curating Slavery" in 2010 and organized the Archaeology of Slavery symposium in 2011, both in Paris. He serves on the French President's advisory group to the Foundation for the Memory of Slavery and spoke at it's 2019 symposium at the Musee D’Orsay. He was a senior advisor to Tulsa's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre - which his grandfather survived - held by the 12th annual John Hope Franklin Reconciliation in America Symposium in May 2021.
John is often asked to advise and plan special projects. For 14 years he has served on the District of Columbia’s Emancipation Commission and organized annual programs on "Slavery and Freedom" in Washington, D.C. at the Smithsonian and at the National Archives. He served on the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture and built an expansion of the Banneker Douglass Museum in Annapolis and the $30 million Reginald F. Lewis Maryland Museum of African American History and Culture. At the request of the US Embassy in Paris, he lectured on a range of such sensitive subjects as racism, war, slavery, colonialism and anti-Semitism to the directors and staff of a group of French museums, which led to heir inviting him to lecture at several French museums and universities on the role of African American troops in France in WWI. UNESCO asked him to help plan a series of symposia on the lasting legacy of slavery, which resulted in the UNESCO meeting at the Smithsonian on "Intangible Culture".
After organizing the meeting of the African Diaspora Heritage Trail Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, he was asked to return to open the Black Loyalist Heritage Center in Birchtown, Nova Scotia in 2015. He advised Davidson College’s Commission on Race and Slavery at Davidson. He is working with the Oklahoma State University-Tulsa on the creation of the John Hope Franklin Research Library.