SPECIAL USE PERMITS
Certain activities within all National Park Service areas require a special use permit. This enables the National Park Service to ensure safety and also monitor and regulate the use of parks while it simultaneously conserves the scenery, natural and historic objects, and wildlife within park boundaries.
You generally do NOT need a permit for your personal, noncommercial filming and photography activities within normal visitation areas and hours. However, filming outside normal visitation hours and all commercial filming requires a permit.
Note: Please submit your special use permit application at least one month before the date of your desired activity. Do NOT submit an application before emailing the Permit Coordinator to discuss your desired activity. It's possible that we might not be able to honor your request, and/or your desired date/time/location is already taken.
Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs)
Section 418 of the National Parks Omnibus Management Act of 1998, Public Law 105-391, authorizes (but does not require) NPS, upon request, to issue commercial use authorizations to persons (referring to individuals, corporations, and other entities) to provide commercial services to park visitors in limited circumstances. CUAs, although used to authorize commercial services to park visitors, are NOT Concession Contracts. They are intended to provide a simple means to authorize suitable commercial services to visitors in the park in the limited circumstances in the legislation. Note that it is extremely uncommon for Thomas Edison National Historical Park to issue a CUA. Contact the permit coordinator with questions you have regarding CUAs.
Costs and Process
Applications require a $50.00 non-refundable application fee. Other fees may apply as well. Information provided on applications is used to determine whether a permit will be issued. You will be notified of the disposition of the application and the steps to secure a final permit. Please allow a minimum of four weeks for processing.
Commercial filming is defined as digital or film recording of a visual image or sound recording by a person, business, or other entity for a market audience, such as for a documentary, television or feature film, advertisement, or similar project. Still photography requires a permit when the activity takes place where or when, members of the public are not allowed, or when the activity uses models, sets or props that are not part of the natural or cultural resources of the park.
- Flash photography and tripods are not permitted.
- Personal photography for private, non-commercial use is permitted at the Laboratory Complex. This includes cell phones, handheld cameras and video cameras that are set to take non-flash photos.
- No photography is permitted inside the Glenmont mansion.
- All photography, professional or amateur, which utilizes equipment (including tripods, monopods, lights, detachable flash, umbrella, multiple lenses, props, selfie sticks, microphones) or models requires a permit.
Filming & Still Photography Permits
Please review carefully the current National Park Service guidance regarding filming and still photography permits. After you have reviewed the information, please contact the Permit Coordinator with any questions you might have regarding filming and still photography at Thomas Edison National Historical Park.
First Amendment Rights
Groups of less than 25 participants may exercise their First Amendment Rights without a permit. These small groups may assemble peacefully, however, they must be in a designated First Amendment area. These areas are designated to protect the safety of the participants, as well as park visitors and park resources. For a list of these locations, please see the Superintendent's Compendium.Groups larger than 25 participants may still exercise their rights, however a permit with conditions will be required. There are no fees or cost recovery associated with permits issued for First Amendment assemblies. Conditions are required to protect the participants as well as park visitors and park resources. In no way will conditions be imposed to restrict the rights of the permit holder. The National Park Service is content neutral in regards to any First Amendment Activity.
General National Park Service Information on Permits https://www.nps.gov/aboutus/doingbusinesswithus.htm
Application for Still Photography
Application for Special Park Use or Filming Activities
A special park use is a short-term activity that takes place in a park area and:
- Provides a benefit to an individual, group, or organization rather than the public at large;
- Requires written authorization and some degree of management control from the NPS in order to protect park resources and the public interest;
- Is not prohibited by law or regulation;
- Is not initiated, sponsored, or conducted by the NPS.
National Park Service (NPS) regulations authorize the conducting of special events provided:
- There is a meaningful association between the park area and the event;
- The observance contributes to visitor understanding of the significance of the park, and
- A permit has been issued by the superintendent.
Private Business Meetings and Events
Thomas Edison NHP can accommodate a variety of private meetings, tours, and events for organizations, businesses, and corporations through a Special Use Permit. Permits are issued for any time on Mondays or Tuesdays, or in the evening after 5:00 p.m., when the site is not open to visitors, based on availability. Permittee is responsible for any food arrangements. There are no cooking facilities available. Caterer will provide all personnel, tables, chairs, tableware, linens, coat racks and tents as needed. Facility guidelines for caterers and event planners can be found below. The following areas at the Edison Laboratory Complex are available for meetings and events:
This multipurpose room can accommodate a maximum of 40 people in rows of chairs (auditorium style). It can be set up in different ways for smaller groups. Tables and chairs may be available with advance arrangements. There is a podium and wall-mounted screen available for power point or video presentations with public wifi in the room. Permittee is responsible for any other presentation materials such as flipcharts. There is a small room with a sink and countertop adjacent to the main room that can be used for light refreshments.
Building 1 – Visitor Center
This room can accommodate approximately 60 people in rows of chairs (auditorium style). Chairs are provided. There is a podium and wall-mounted screen available for power point or video presentations but there is no internet connection available. Permittee is responsible for any other presentation materials. The Museum Store is adjacent to the main room. Restrooms are located in this building.
From April through October (weather permitting), there is a 30’ x 60’ tent on the grounds of the Laboratory Complex. Over 100 people can be seated in rows of chairs (auditorium style) or with round tables and chairs. The permittee would be responsible for all furnishings and audiovisual equipment inside the tent. There is no wifi in this area. There are two 20 amp electric receptacles available. The tent is not heated or cooled.
National Park Service guided tours of the Edison Laboratory Complex may be scheduled alone or with a meeting or event. The tour is about 90 minutes in length but can be longer or shorter depending on your schedule. Please discuss any special needs, themes or topics of interest with the Permit Coordinator. The recommended tour size is 25-30 people. Larger groups can be divided with a staggered tour schedule. Larger groups may also consider an open house style visit with National Park Service staff stationed throughout the historic buildings for a self-paced tour. Tours of the Glenmont estate may be available as part of your permit but there are no indoor spaces that can be used for meetings or events. Maximum tour size in the Glenmont mansion is 20. Under certain circumstances small events may be permitted on the grounds. Tents and all furnishings would be the responsibility of the permittee.
Application for Still Photography
Application for Special Park Use or Filming Activities
Please review the PERMIT INFORMATION SHEET below and make an appointment to see the space before submitting your permit application. Email the Permit Coordinator, to schedule a visit.
Once you are certain you would like to use the space, you will need to submit an Application for Special Use Permit, which you can find below. Please do not send any fees until we confirm your event. Facility guidelines for caterers and event planners can also be found below.
Information Special Events
SPECIAL EVENTS - PERMIT INFORMATION SHEET
FACILITY GUIDELINES - GLENMONT ESTATE
FACILITY GUIDELINES - LABORATORY COMPLEX
SPECIAL EVENTS-LOCATION PHOTOS
Thomas Edison National Historical Park
211 Main Street
West Orange, New Jersey 07052
973-736-0550 extension 17