WEST ORANGE, NJ — The National Park Service invites visitors of all ages to join in the celebration of its 100th birthday on Aug. 25. Thomas Edison National Historical Park at 211 Main St. will host a weeklong centennial event, with the visitor center remaining open from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.
During this time, from Aug. 25 through Aug. 28, admission to the park will be free. Admission includes both the Laboratory Complex and the Glenmont Estate. Arrive early if you would like to visit Glenmont since there are a limited number of tickets available each day. Special programs will be offered at the Laboratory Complex at 2:30 p.m. each day.
The park will screen “The Wizard of West Orange” at 2:30 p.m. on Aug. 25. See this new documentary short about the genius of Thomas Edison, his inventions, his life and his workshops. The video was produced and directed by Jane Steuerwald and Joel Katz, professors in the Media Arts Department of NJ City University in Jersey City; edited by Kevin Torres; and voiced by singer/songwriter/producer Gordon Bahary. Media Arts Department production majors participated on this ambitious team project, which will now play regularly in the Visitor Center.
There will be an NPS NPS Founders Day Birthday Party on Aug. 25, with a scavenger hunt at the Laboratory Complex for children of all ages throughout the day. Come to the park for birthday cake after the special showing of “The Wizard of West Orange.”
The birthday celebration will continue at History Happy Hour from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at The Pour House, 178 Main St. in West Orange. Stop by for an evening of National Park Service trivia, free pizza and a $5 signature cocktail just for the occasion.
“Camping in Nature’s Laboratory with Thomas Edison,” a new digital exhibit, will launch on Google Cultural Institute on Monday, Aug. 22. GCI allows museums to create streamlined exhibits on specific themes or topics using objects in their collections. The park’s first exhibit, which launched Feb. 11, focuses on the West Orange laboratory. “Camping in Nature’s Laboratory with Thomas Edison,” explores the history of early 20th-century outdoor recreation through the camping trips of Thomas Edison and his friends Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone and John Burroughs. To access the exhibits go to http://google.com/culturalinstitute/home.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, at 2:30 p.m., NPS archivist Leonard DeGraaf will present a program about the camping trips around the country illustrated by the “Camping in Nature’s Laboratory with Thomas Edison” exhibit.
Throughout the week, museum staff will examine the papers and other artifacts on Edison’s desk to reassess their condition, update catalog records and digitize some rarely seen documents. Stop by and see some things staff members do to preserve these treasures for the next 100 years.
Join inventor Harry Roman for a special behind the scenes tour of the environmentally friendly heating and cooling system in the Edison’s home on Aug. 28. Tickets are required, and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis that morning. Pick up tickets at the visitor center at 211 Main St.