The Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, also known as the Menlo Park Museum / Edison Memorial Tower, is a memorial to inventor and businessman Thomas Alva Edison, located in the Menlo Park area of Edison, Middlesex County, New Jersey, United States. The tower was dedicated on February 11, 1938, on what would have been the inventor's 91st birthday. The tower marks the location of Edison's Menlo Park laboratory, the world's first organized research and development site. He came to Menlo Park in 1876, the area was then known as Raritan Township, and later changed (in 1954) to Edison Township. Menlo Park is known as the Birthplace of Recorded Sound (November 1877), and the site of the world's first practical incandescent lamp-light bulb (October 1879). Edison and his staff would create 400 of his most important inventions here. It was this site that Edison would fondly nickname his 'Invention Factory'. Edison and his staff were working in New York City, building the world's first central distribution site for electricity, when his wife Mary Stilwell Edison died at their Menlo Park home. He would later relocate to West Orange, New Jersey in 1884 to what is now the Thomas Edison National Historical Park. The original Menlo Park buildings began to deteriorate, and by 1926 most of the buildings had either collapsed or burned, and the only two remaining buildings were later moved to Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan. The tower's pinnacle is meant to represent an incandescent light bulb and originally included an audio system that according to a 2004 Weird NJ magazine could be heard from a distance of two miles. The American concrete pioneer John Joseph Earley was involved in its construction. The Tower, which rises 131 feet above the Terrace, is topped by a 14' 8" foot high Bulb made of Pyrex segments by the Corning Corporation. The tower is listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, and is now being restored, a project managed by The State of New Jersey. The museum showcases many of Thomas Edison's creations including the phonograph and many of his light bulbs, as well as memorabilia relating to Edison and his inventions. The museum also showcases many images taken of Edison's property, inventions, and family. The remainder of Edison's estate is now the Edison State Park. The Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park is jointly administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Parks and Forestry, the Township of Edison, and the non-profit Edison Memorial Tower Corporation. The Edison Memorial Tower Corporation, a 501(c)3, has been instrumental in having the current museum renovated. The renovated museum reopened on June 9, 2012, with old and newly acquired artifacts. The new professional interpretative exhibits were designed by Daniel Schnur, NYC.
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Thomas Edison Museum
- Thu - Sat: 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
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