The project to preserve the historic buildings and the artifact and archival collections at the Laboratory Complex at Thomas Edison National Historical Park was recognized on May 25th with a 2010 New Jersey Historic Preservation Award.
The award was presented by Bob Martin, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and Sophia Jones, New Jersey Historic Sites Council at the 20th annual awards reception in Trenton.
The $13 million project with the Edison Innovation Foundation and the Charles Edison Fund of Newark, New Jersey was completed over six years. The project was designed with careful consideration of the historic character of the laboratory buildings. Repairs were completed and new systems installed with minimal disruption to the original structure.
A new elevator and stair tower were installed adjacent to the main laboratory providing for the first time public access to new exhibits on the second and third floors of the building. These exhibits include the original music room, Edison’s private laboratory, a photography studio and new gallery displaying the valuable collection of phonographs. The visitor experience has been further enhanced by the return of the original furnishings to many of the rooms, new exhibit panels and a self-guided audio tour.
The Laboratory Complex reopened in October 2009. A testament to the project’s success is the experience of visitors who often describe that upon entering the laboratory buildings, it is as if Edison and his colleagues had just stepped out to lunch.