I tend to avoid taking the kids to museums, as this is the dramatic kind of reaction I usually get. But when Aidan came home from school and told me he was writing a biography report on Thomas Edison, I suggested we visit Edison’s laboratory museum.
It was an idea that was met with actual enthusiasm by my ten-year-old – something I honestly was not prepared for. And when I mentioned the same to Eamonn, his response was “Thomas Edison? He’s my favorite inventor!”
Who knew 1st-graders had favorite inventors?!
So we trekked the 35 minutes over to West Orange, New Jersey yesterday, parked half a mile away when we discovered it was also the day of their St. Patrick’s parade, and enjoyed a little self-guided tour punctuated with the muffled sound of marching bagpipe bands.
I highly recommend this as an outing for those of you with kids that are not into Museums with a capital M. Admission is $7 for adults and free for children under sixteen, so it’s very affordable, and each person in your group is given a little gadget they can put up to their ears to hear information about the various rooms and buildings.
This gadget thing was the best. idea. ever.
My kids never lost interest in any of the exhibits because they were enjoying the ability to control the story. The narration engaged them, had them looking around the room for particular objects, and laughing at amusing little anecdotes they heard. The interactivity here was just the right amount, and it was key to their enjoyment of the tour.
I will have to revise my opinion of visiting museums, if I can find other places that use similar technology. These guys loved it. More photos of our trip here, if you are interested.
The only down side to this entire experience? They Might Be Giants’ song “The Edison Museum” has been knocking around my brain for three days, and I may just lose my marbles if it goes on much longer. Ack!