Cleveland March 31, 2019
Not Many People Realize There’s An Incredible Piece Of American History Hiding Just Outside Of Cleveland
Ohio is home to some spectacular and surprising history. It was here that the modern drinking straw was invented, and it is here that the only Major League Baseball player killed by injuries sustained during a baseball game is buried. Margaret Hamilton, the famous Wicked Witch of the West from the 1939 film
The Wizard of Oz was born here. So, too, was silent film actress Lillian Gish. If you look back even farther in local history, you’ll find that one of the nation’s most esteemed inventors also started his life right here in Northern Ohio, and his birthplace is now an incredible museum.
There isn't a school-aged child in the nation that hasn't heard about the accomplished inventor Thomas Alva Edison, but many do not realize that he started his life fairly close to Cleveland, Ohio.
About an hour west of Cleveland is a small village with all sorts of charm. Milan is now home to about 1,500 residents, but its most famous resident was born over a century ago on February 11, 1847.
This hillside abode was home to Thomas Edison until he was seven years old, but it's now a museum with an impressive collection of Edisonia.
You'll feel closer to this inventor than ever before as you peruse perfectly preserved family mementos and other antiques owned or invented by Edison. The museum is open February through December, and the surrounding community is lovely in every season.
The Edison Birthplace Museum opened to the public on the 100th anniversary of his birth, mere months before his wife passed away.
Pictured above is Mina Miller Edison and Thomas Alva Edison. Mina was Edison's second wife, and it was she that established the Edison Birthplace Museum with the help of their daughter, Madeleine. It's worth noting that this museum is the only Edison site that still has family members involved in its operations. His great-grandchildren and great-great-great-great niece are on the Board of Trustees, and his great-great-great nephew is its president.
You'll see examples of some of Edison's most unique creations as you tour the museum, including an Edison Talking Doll.
These shoes belong to one of Edison's rarest inventions: the Edison Talking Doll. This invention was ultimately a failure because the dolls were too heavy to be practical for playtime. They were only produced for three months, but they were remarkable in design. A tiny cylinder phonograph was placed in her chest to make her talk, and a crank protruded from the back. And, yes, the voice she produced was purportedly very creepy.
The home, you'll be amazed to learn, has hardly changed since Thomas Edison's last stay at just seven years of age.
The skylight in this picture was added, of course, but the ambiance of the museum is still very era-specific. Family mementos are amazingly preserved, from the most fragile pieces of clothing to bedspreads.
Many consider Edison to be America's greatest inventor, but visitors can decide for themselves after experiencing some of his inventions up close.
Phonographs, light bulbs, and the motion picture camera are just a few of Edison's inventions that you've probably heard of. During your visit, you'll get a glimpse into the mind of this skilled inventor.
Did you know that Edison chose to stick to a vegetarian diet toward the end of his life? You'll learn tons of interesting facts about the human behind the innovator during your visit.
As amazing as it is to consider, the world seems to know very little about Edison beyond his inventions. He's an iconic and legendary figure, but there was a human being beneath all that grandeur. You'll learn more about the real Edison than you ever thought possible as you walk through his childhood home.
Interestingly, Edison isn't the only celebrity to come out of the area.
Percy the Peacock is certainly the star of the show in this community, and, from the looks of things, he seems to know it. Don't be surprised if you spot him during your visit, as this neighborhood is just as much his home as it was Edison's.
You'll doubtlessly want to plan a visit to this iconic museum, and there's no better time than now for a road trip.
This museum is close enough to Sandusky and the Lake Erie islands to make an entire weekend trip out of your visit. Click
to plan your trip and to learn more about the free tours offered on International Museum Day this year.
You'll find yourself enchanted by the simplicity of the life Edison enjoyed in Ohio, and you'll feel humbled to follow in the footsteps of this legendary inventor.
Ohio is home to an incredible amount of history, but it’s still astonishing to consider that many are unaware that Thomas Alva Edison began his life so close to Cleveland. Who do you want to visit this museum with? Tag them in the comments and let’s start planning a road trip!
The Thomas A. Edison Birthplace Museum is located at 9 N Edison Dr., Milan, OH 44846 and is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the museum’s website
here and follow along on the Edison Birthplace Association’s Facebook page here.
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