EDISON, NJ — The Thomas Edison Center is located in Edison State Park and consists of the Art Deco Edison Memorial Tower and a small museum and education center devoted to Edison’s work at Menlo Park.
The museum is home to many incredible inventions and artifacts. According to its website, the museum’s mission is to honor Thomas Alva Edison and teach the public about his accomplishments at this site and his impact on modern research and development.
Despite having to close the museum during the quarantine, Edison Center has been able to offer Light Yoga, hiking on its many nature trails and sightseeing of the grounds throughout the last seven months.
The Center works with the Edison Township Environmental Commission, Boy Scout groups and other youth and adult groups on the trails and gardening areas for beautification purposes.
Local businesses and organizations are welcome to participate in clean-up days.
Museum Director Kathleen Carlucci shared, “We work with the local Terra Nova Garden Club (TNGC), and they won an award from the New Jersey Garden Club for the work they do here.”
The 36-acre Edison State Park is educational and fun to explore. Throughout the years, Eagle Scouts and Gold Scouts have collaborated with the museum to build kiosks with interpretive panels that provide visitors with historic information.
Carlucci mentioned, “Two new outdoor interpretive panels were created for the education and enjoyment of our visitors. We now have six, all created by Eagle and Gold (award) Scouts.”
The museum will reopen for indoor tours on October 24. The tours will be smaller than usual, social distancing will be in effect and everyone will wear masks.
According to Carlucci, the museum used the quarantine time to create new exhibits, update exhibits and enhance their website.
In addition, the museum offered online activities to entertain the quarantined public. One was an online scavenger hunt. Another activity was kids designing a Father’s Day greeting in a drawing of a light bulb. They also created an Edison Bingo game.
Carlucci noted, “We also posted mini-videos online showing how to do experiments during the shut down.”
Throughout each year, the museum gives back to to the community with their “Shining A Light On Edison” educational program and awarding scholarships.
The museum works in conjunction with the Edison Township Board of Education on “Shining A Light On Edison” to provide an interactive experience for Edison's second graders.
In 2019, almost 1,300 students from Edison and nearly 700 hundred students from outside the township attended the program. Many had never visited the museum. They watched experiments being conducted and participated in hands-on activities.
The organization also awards scholarships to students at J.P. Stevens High School, Edison High School and Monroe Township High School.
The Edison Center normally hosts two annual fall events: The Harvest Fun Festival and The Trail of Terror. Unfortunately, both were canceled this year. Their Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony is a beautiful event.
Another Edison Center tradition is the annual wreath-laying ceremony for Edison’s February 11th birthday.
Thomas Edison, his wife Mary and their two children moved to Edison in 1876 when Edison purchased a failed housing development called Menlo Park.
Carlucci shared, “Edison invented 400 of his most important patents in Edison in less than six and a half years. They are on display in the museum’s Hall of Patents.”
The museum recently opened their online gift shop which has interesting, fun, and educational items.
Click HERE to go to their website
Click HERE for their Facebook page
Click HERE for their Instagram, where you can view videos and find activities