Thomas Edison National Historical Park

West Orange, New Jersey

RAA was commissioned to provide planning and design that would tell the story of Thomas Edison's West Orange lab, where the motion-picture camera, improved phonographs, sound recordings, silent and sound movies, and the nickel-iron alkaline electric storage battery were invented.

The life and work of this American genius, who almost single-handedly invented modern life, are interpreted through exhibits, media kiosks, and historic reconstructions throughout the building.

Edison’s two-story library, stockroom, and heavy-machine shop were reopened on the first floor. The precision-machine shop, Room 12 (Edison’s private lab), and the drafting room are on the second floor. The third floor includes the music room—the world’s first recording studio—where a phonograph collection documents the early years of sound recording. Edison’s photography studio was re-created with its original equipment, and a new open-storage area displays thousands of historic artifacts that were central to his life as an inventor. Audio tours provide in-depth narratives for visitors as they explore the premises on their own.

Year:
2009
Client:
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
Architect:

Beyer Blinder Belle Architects & Partners

Size:

18,000 square feet

Awards:
  • NJ Historic Sites Council 20th Annual Historic Preservation Awards, Stewardship Award

© 2014, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, Inc.