Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced today a $150,000 award to the nonprofit Edison Memorial Tower Corporation for improvements to the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park.
The grant will provide funding for new pathways, a sound system, exhibits, and renovation of the Eternal Light Room at the Edison Memorial Tower located within the 36-acre Edison State Park on Christie Street in Edison Township.
Senator Patrick J. Diegnan Jr., Assemblyman Robert Karabinchak, and Assemblyman Sterley Stanley, who represent New Jersey’s 18th Legislative District, which includes Edison, requested the funding as part of the state’s annual budget process.
“The Edison Memorial Tower represents New Jersey’s trailblazing nature, and we are proud to continue to fund the tower and museum’s upkeep and renovation in the state’s annual budget,” Diegnan, Karabinchak, and Stanley said in a joint statement. “Thank you to Governor Murphy and the Department of Community Affairs for the money awarded to enhance New Jersey’s tribute to Edison’s innovative spirit.”
The Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, serves as a museum and memorial to Thomas Alva Edison, the world-renown inventor who performed some of his finest work in New Jersey.
Approximately 400 of Edison’s most important inventions were created in Menlo Park, where he lived from 1876 through 1884.
The center showcases many of his creations, including the phonograph, and represents the birthplace of recorded sound and the world’s first incandescent lamp-light bulb.
In 2019, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, people from more than 60 countries and every state in the nation visited the museum and surrounding park.
The nonprofit Edison Memorial Tower Corporation’s (EMTC) staff and well-trained volunteers host visiting student groups, scout troops, senior citizen groups, camps, clubs, families, and walk-in guests.
Working in concert with Edison Township, the EMTC has hosted a fall festival, winter tree lighting, ice carving and other annual events. In addition, the EMTC has partnered with Edison Township Public Schools, the state’s fifth-largest school district, to host educational class trips district-wide for second-grade students.
“We invite every New Jersey resident and visitor to come and explore the Thomas Edison Center at Edison State Park,” Edison Township Mayor Sam Joshi said in a Feb. 11 New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) video celebrating the famed inventor’s birth 175 years ago.
“You can see original artifacts, listen to Edison phonographs more than 120 years old and learn about the amazing research that was done right here.”
NJDEP Commissioner Shawn LaTourette, whose department’s Division of Parks and Forestry jointly administers the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park and Edison State Park with the EMTC and Edison Township, noted Edison is responsible for “some of the greatest contributions to modern life.”
“New Jersey has always been home to innovation,” LaTourette said in the NJDEP’s Feb. 11 video. “From science to the performing arts, to the giants of industry and athletics, our New Jersey grit, our drive to never stop improving and to better the lives of others was certainly a hallmark of Thomas Edison’s work.”
The mission of the Thomas Edison Center is to honor its namesake’s memory and to educate the public about his significant accomplishments at Menlo Park and his impact on modern research and development.
The center consists of the Art Deco Edison Memorial Tower and a small museum and education center devoted to Edison’s time of immense creativity at Menlo Park.
The museum, which provides scheduled guided tours tailored to specific audiences, is open to the public Thursday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information, please visit menloparkmuseum.org.