Conference Highlights

Professor Bernie Carlson speak with a group of volunteers about Thomas Edison.
Bernie Carlson talking to volunteers about five quotes attributed to Thomas Edison.

NPS photo

Make History Come Alive: Celebrate the World's Greatest Inventor

Edison National Historic Site sponsored a two-day Volunteer-In-Parks conference on Wednesday, September 17th and Wednesday September 24th. The conference was funded by FY08 VIP Special Project Funds. The two day affair was designed to train current VIP staff and entice new individuals to join the ranks of Edison volunteers.

The first day had the theme of Thomas Edison and the Business of Inventing. Participants spent the day exploring Thomas Edison and the Process of Invention. Guest speaker W. Bernard Carlson, Professor, Department of Science, Technology and Society, University of Virginia, talked about how Edison went about creating his 1093 patents. He followed up his lecture by taking all 25 participants into the laboratory buildings and showing the group where the work was actually done.

On Wednesday, September 24th, 37 current and prospective volunteers, gathered on the lawn of Thomas and Mina Edison’s estate Glenmont, to learn about Victoriana and the Edison Era. The day began with a lecture on The Age of Elegance – American Gardening: 1850-1915. Marta McDowell, Professor of Historic Landscape Preservation, Drew University followed up her talk with a walk around the estate grounds. Laura Schenone explored Domestic History of late 19th Century and Early 20th Century Women. In the afternoon, Ulysses Grant Dietz, Curator, decorative Arts Department, The Newark Museum, spoke on From Romanticism to the Gilded Age: The American Home and the Course of Empire. The program finished with Ulysses Dietz leading a tour through Edison’s home.

The two days were very successful and several participants are ready to sign on as volunteers.


Last updated: February 26, 2015

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