WEST ORANGE, NJ - In a partnership between the National Park Service (NPS) and Google, Thomas Edison National Historical Park (NHP) has announced that it will be featured in the Google Cultural Institute, a digital platform that makes hundreds of historically- and culturally-significant objects in the National Park Service’s museum collection available online.
The Google Cultural Institute uses technologies similar to Google’s Street View – providing 360-degree views on Google Maps of locations around the world to photograph and virtually map important artifacts, photos, records and works of art to share important material with global audiences and digitally preserve them for future generations, according to the Institute.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a NPS site dedicated to promoting an international understanding and appreciation of the life and extraordinary achievements of Thomas Alva Edison by preserving, protecting, and interpreting the Park’s extensive historic artifact and archive collections at the Laboratory Complex and Glenmont, the Edison family estate in West Orange, according to a representative of Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
US Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell made the announcement at an event on Feb.11, marking Black History Month at Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site, one of the national parks featured in the Google Cultural Institute collection.
“This marriage of technology and history means that anyone anywhere can see artifacts and sites that provide a taste of the rich and diverse story of America,” Jewell said. “Our hope is that this partnership will not only illustrate and elevate of our nation’s history and culture, but inspire more people to visit the wonderfully diverse places that the National Park Service protects and preserves for current and future generations.”
The NPS, celebrating its Centennial Anniversary this year said it is home to one of the world's largest museum systems. Over 380 park museums, 45 million objects and 76,000 linear feet of archives help tell powerful stories of America’s land, people, and significant events and ideas that continue to inspire the world, according to NPS.
Visitors to the National Park Service “channel” will be able to view more than 3,800 works of art, artifacts and records, as well as a Centennial Virtual Exhibit, which features significant museum objects from over 350 national park sites.
“Thomas Edison NHP is proud to have objects from its museum collection featured as part of the partnership with the Google Cultural Institute” said Superintendent Thomas E. Ross.
"The National Park Service is proud to partner with Google to make important symbols of our shared national heritage accessible to more Americans than ever," said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. "Visitors to the National Park Service collection in the Google Cultural Institute will have the unique opportunity to see rare Native American artifacts, browse inspiring works of art that convey our nation's history and natural beauty, and virtually walk through the homes of great American thinkers, like Frederick Douglass and Thomas Edison."
"The magic of technology is that it allows us to fold space and time to bring people together with places, experiences, artifacts, and each other in ways that before were impossible," said Google’s Senior Counsel on Civil and Human Rights Malika Saada Saar. "That’s what the Google Cultural Institute does, and we are thrilled to work with the National Parks Service to help preserve these beautiful American places, objects, and stories."
On Aug. 25, 2016, the NPS will celebrate 100 years of protecting, preserving and sharing the nation’s national parks. For the last 100 years, operating under the U.S. Department of the Interior, the NPS mission has expanded to help communities across the United States revitalize their communities, preserve local history, celebrate local heritage, and create close-to-home opportunities for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun, according to NPS.