I found it enthralling. Really, I did. These are not the typical words one uses to describe a museum, but this is not your typical museum. It even has a song about it (http://www.lyricsmode.com/lyrics/t/they_might_be_giants/edison_museum.html). The Louvre can’t even say that. Who needs the Mona Lisa?
The Thomas Edison Museum – to be more accurate – National Historic Park (http://www.nps.gov/edis/index.htm), the subject of the above noted song, is located in West Orange, New Jersey. My son and I joined his boy scout troop and visited the complex yesterday. After viewing a 10-minute biography about Edison, the troop was led on a tour. Our tour guide, Ben, was great! About 25 and clean cut, Ben led us around the park in his full ranger attire. The boys and parents buzzed him with questions. He had an answer for every question, smiled as he responded, and was incredibly patient.
We were led through Edison’s laboratory, library, workshop, and factory. With the information shared by Ben, it became clear that Edison was Steve Jobs before Steve Jobs. With his insatiable curiosity, brilliance, and top-notch organizing skills, he was able to become the most patented American ever. He accomplished all this despite just three months of education (who needs teachers – uh oh!) While in the library, Ben directed our attention to a large picture that hung prominently in the room. He asked the children what emotions Edison seemed to have in the picture. Responses included angry, sleepy, curious (from my son – that’s my boy!), etc. Ben went on to explain that the picture was taken during a period where Edison worked 96 straight hours, as he was obsessed to find the answer to some problem. Imagine the phone call (if they were around at that time) to his wife. Yes dear, I have to work late. How late you ask? Well, till Thursday. I know it’s Monday. No, I haven’t lost my mind. She must have been understanding. In fact, the cot set up in his library was put there by his wife because of Edison’s penchant for long hours. We were told he worked, on average, 95 hours per week. He actually clocked in.
Now, I am not sure if the kids were as interested as I was, but they did have plenty of questions and were quiet while the tour guide spoke. My son perked up when we learned that Edison was involved with movies. Movies, television – that will get him every time.
Well, as the tour ended, I came to a conclusion: I must read up on this man. So, thanks to Ben and the Edison Museum. If you have the chance, check out the museum. You just may find it enthralling as well.