The National Park Service is welcoming visitors to the new newly renovated Edison Laboratory Complex at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey. According to the site’s Superintendent Greg Marshall, “The original music recording studio, Thomas Edison’s private laboratory, and a photography studio will be open to the public for the first time in the history of the site.”
The renovation was a complex project to preserve the historic buildings and the artifact and archival collections at the Laboratory Complex and Glenmont Estate. The original historic furnishings and documents were beginning to deteriorate because of lack of adequate heating and cooling systems. They were at risk of loss or damage from fire because of old, outdated alarm and sprinkler systems. The vast majority of the artifact collection was inaccessible to visitors and researchers while stored on the upper floors of the historic main laboratory.
The original furnishings have been moved back into many rooms and the unique museum collections will be available to see, hear, and experience. Installation of a new elevator and stair tower adjacent to the main laboratory building allows new public access to the upper floors of the laboratory that now feature new exhibits. The Edison home at the Glenmont Estate has also been renovated. Other improvements include new fire detection system and upgraded fire sprinkler system, new heating and cooling systems, and exterior building repairs and an integrated drainage system.
The $13 million partnership project with the Edison Innovation Foundation and Charles Edison Fund of Newark, New Jersey also includes new heating and cooling systems, new fire detection and suppression systems, and structural repairs to the historic building’s roofs, foundations, and windows. The new Thomas Edison experience offers visitors self-guided audio tours, cell phone tours, films, grounds walks, school workshops and traditional guided programs.
Thomas Edison National Historical Park is a unit of the National Park Service that preserves and interprets the West Orange Laboratory and Home of inventor Thomas Alva Edison. Information is available at: www.nps.gov/edis.
The Edison Innovation Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the Edison Legacy and encourages students (including women and minorities) to embrace careers in science, technology and engineering and is committed to educating the next generation of great innovators while using Edison and his Invention Factory as the foundation. For information on the Foundation, visit: www.thomasedison.org.