Exhibits and Programs

Exhibits

The small two-room museum at the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park includes both original artifacts and interpretive exhibits relating to Edison's major inventions at Menlo Park. The themes covered include:

  • Establishment of the world's first research and development laboratory
  • Perfection of the incandescent light bulb
  • Development of a complete electrical distribution system
  • Invention and progression of the phonograph, the invention that earned Edison the title of the "Wizard of Menlo Park"
  • Twentieth century commemoration of Edison's accomplishments

Artifacts include a model of Edison's laboratory, early phonographs and light bulbs, historic photographs, and a Menlo Park era electric generator or "dynamo." Visitors are encouraged to take a guided tour of the museum's collections, hear a demonstration of one of the historic phonographs, and try some hands-on demonstrations. The museum provides guided tours to a wide variety of visitors--students from kindergarten to high school, senior citizens, professionals, families, scouts, summer campers, and many others, from across America and around the world. These tours, which are tailored to the specific audience, can be scheduled either for days when the museum is open (Thursday - Saturday 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM) or on other days upon request.

The museum's gift shop has many items related to Thomas Alva Edison, Menlo Park, and the Edison Memorial Tower, including books, bags, pens, glow-in-the-dark bracelets, coasters, and T-shirts.

In addition to touring the museum, visitors may also walk the grounds in order to:

  • View the Art Deco Edison Memorial Tower
  • See the foundations of Edison's office and library building
  • See the Menlo Park Tablet and Memorial
  • Explore the 36-acre Edison State Park, including a nature trail adjacent to the museum

Programs

The non-profit Edison Memorial Tower Corporation provides numerous outreach programs, including:

  • Training for museum volunteers
  • Lectures and demonstrations at schools and other non-profit organizations
  • Collaborative effort with the Friends of the Edison Library to provide area 4th graders with biographical information on Thomas Alva Edison
  • Walking tours of the grounds of Thomas Edison's "Invention Factory"
  • Participation in regional and statewide history events
  • Fundraising events
  • Coordination with Rutgers University's Thomas A. Edison Papers and the Thomas Edison National Historical Park (West Orange, New Jersey)
  • Edison Volunteer Fire Company No. 1's annual wreath laying ceremony in honor of Edison's February 11th birthday
  • Clean-up days with local businesses or organizations
  • Public workshops to solicit input for the "Reinvention of Menlo Park" as well as press events for major milestones
  • Eco-tours led by the Edison Greenways Association

Examples of major programs include:

  • June 9, 2012 Museum Grand Re-opening Celebration
  • May 16, 2010 85th Anniversary Celebration of the Menlo Park Tablet
  • September 2006 dedication of Menlo Park as a historic "Milestone" by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

To be placed on the mailing list for notices of any programs, contact the EMTC Administrative Office at 732-494-4194 or at info@menloparkmuseum.org.

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