A First Look at the Exciting Fly Me To The Moon Exhibit Featuring Thomas Edison

Picture a museum visit that transcends the ordinary—a journey where history and future dreams converge in a thrilling ride. As representatives of the Thomas Edison Foundation, we were thrilled to experience the “Fly Me to the Moon” exhibit at the New Jersey Hall of Fame Education and Learning Center within the American Dream complex. At the exhibit’s entrance stands a remarkable sight: Edison’s original Model T Ford that was given to him by Ford himself. This iconic car, more than a century old, gleams as if ready for yet another groundbreaking adventure.

Our journey begins with a visit to a corner of Edison’s West Orange laboratory, a recreation complete with an up-close look at an original phonograph and full size Edison cut out.

Next, we step into a one-of-a-kind virtual reality experience – The “Fly Me To The Moon” ride featuring New Jersey icons like Edison, Einstein, Buzz Aldrin and the Kelly Twins. While the ride starts in a familiar West Orange driveway, we soon find ourselves transported into a virtual reality experience where Edison’s vintage car transforms into a futuristic spacecraft. This vehicle, symbolic of Edison’s spirit of innovation, propels us on an exhilarating voyage through space, highlighting the Hall of Fame Inductees’ pivotal contributions to space exploration.

As the Model T lifts off, it whisks us through a series of stunning space travel scenes, getting the ride of a lifetime on the simulator chairs and a captivating show on the big screen illuminating the legacy of New Jersey. The ride seamlessly blends historical ingenuity with cutting-edge technology, echoing Edison’s own ethos of perpetual advancement. The “Fly Me to the Moon” exhibit vividly captures how Edison’s pioneering vision continues to inspire new generations to reach for the stars.

Stepping out of the transformed Model T, our senses buzzing from the cosmic ride, we dive into the vibrant expanse of the New Jersey Hall of Fame. This isn’t just a museum—it’s a celebration of the Garden State’s coolest achievements, living up to its motto, “Everybody Needs a Hero.” From singing karaoke with Frankie Valli to interviewing Danny DeVito on his most iconic roles, the museum blends science, music, and cinema into a fun, interactive journey. Here, Edison’s ingenuity meets Aldrin’s space dreams, all under one roof, inspiring everyone to find their inner hero.

Ready to experience the “Fly Me to the Moon” exhibit for yourself? The New Jersey Hall of Fame Education and Learning Center is NOW OPEN at the American Dream complex in East Rutherford, NJ. Situated in a premier entertainment and retail destination, it offers an engaging journey through New Jersey’s rich legacy in science, music, and cinema. For more details and opening dates, visit the Education and Learning Center’s website and plan your visit to this inspiring museum.


Exciting Student Inventions Unveiled at Edison Pitch Contest

The 14th annual Thomas Edison Pitch Contest finals, brought to you by Edison Innovation Foundation, showcased the brilliance and creativity of young minds, including students from 8 different states and even from Malaysia. These students were selected from approximately 889 students from 114 schools across the country.

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Hollywood Comes Home to Where It All Began with Edison

New Jersey is bustling with energy as filmmakers rediscover the magic of that state that the industry was created in. In other words, “Hollywood” is coming home.

You may have read in the news that Netflix is preparing to build their next “mega studio” in the same state from where Thomas Edison built the world’s first movie studio, the Black Maria. Governor Phil Murphy’s administration says that this initiative could help turn Jersey into the “Hollywood of the East.”

The state is actually booming with new construction in cities like Bayonne, Newark and Carteret…all just a few miles from where the Black Maria stood in West Orange, NJ.

The award-winning movie “The Joker” and series “Succession” were filmed in the same Northern part of New Jersey as Edison’s historic movie, “The Great Train Robbery.” 

Edison’s legacy is deeply intertwined with New Jersey’s vibrant film history. The revolutionary Black Maria was created in 1893 and served as a laboratory for experimentation and creativity, where Edison and his team pushed the very early boundaries of visual storytelling.

Netflix plans to build a studio in Fort Monmouth, NJ, just 48 miles from where the Black Maria was built in West Orange, NJ.

Nicknamed for its similar appearance to a paddy wagon, the Black Maria was equipped with a roof that could be opened to use the sunlight for the kind of lighting needed to capture the films at this time, since it wasn’t available with bulbs yet.

It was a kind of living piece of technology that had to be wrestled into place every hour or so. It used the light of the sun for filming and since the sun moves about 15 degrees across the sky every hour, Edison’s staff had to push the building around on a circular track to make sure it faced the sun for maximum illumination.

A demonstration of how the Black Maria movie studio turned on its tracks, to face the sun for lighting Edison’s movies.

Although mostly 20 seconds long, stories unfolded within this studio’s tar-covered walls that would forever change history. The earliest copyrighted film in history that still survives is actually Edison’s “Kinetoscopic Record of a Sneeze” in January 1894. He was also one of the first to experiment with color film and putting sound to film in this very studio.

Today, as the landscape of filmmaking undergoes another transformation, New Jersey emerges once again as a hub of cinematic innovation with its vibrant blend of cultures, bustling cities, and timeless landscapes. These modern studios, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and fueled by boundless imagination, are poised to redefine the cinematic landscape yet again. The resurgence of excitement and creativity is truly reminiscent of Edison’s era.

As we embrace the future, let’s not forget the lessons of the past and pay homage to the visionary pioneers who paved the way for us. Innovation isn’t just about technology; it’s about preserving the spirit of creativity and exploration that defines New Jersey’s cinematic legacy.

In this ever-changing world, the magic of cinema seems to have found its way home.

You can visit the Black Maria replica today at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, NJ.

Champagne and Ship Christenings: An Edison Family Tradition

Have you ever heard of “christening” a ship? When a ship sets sail on its maiden voyage, there is a ceremony held where a bottle is broken over the ship’s bow for good luck and safe travels. The practice dates back to the days of the ancient Romans, the Vikings, the explorers who voyaged to this country, the US Navy and is even an important tradition in the Thomas Edison family.

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