Percy the Peacock

Percy in front of the Edison Birthplace Museum

Percy…..Peacock About Town!  Percy became a resident of the neighborhood around the Edison Birthplace in October of 2017.  He had been owned by two people a few miles away and escaped. He showed up at the Birthplace and would not be captured, but soon Percy captured the hearts of the residents up and down the street.  Percy survived the cold winter, growing his beautiful plumage that he now displays whenever there’s an audience around.  Everyone in the neighborhood feeds and protects him.  His screeches and honks pervade the whole area.  In the last few months he has ventured from his original neighborhood and has made several walks around the village, to the bank, to the drive-thru, to Jim’s Pizza Box (good pizza), but always comes back to his familiar area to get fed by his “family” and sleep in the neighborhood trees for the night.  If you come to the Birthplace, look for him, sometimes he’s in the road so drive slowly.  He’ll be somewhere around, entertaining people or standing on “his” wall directing traffic . He’s beautiful to look at, but don’t try to rush at him or take selfies; don’t make loud sounds; he will back off or even run away.  Remember he is a wild bird and is staying around our neighborhood only because he is finding all he needs here.  We love him and hope he stays for a long time.


Percy helps enforce the rules

Strutting Percy

Edison Birthplace Celebrates Japan’s Tanabata Festival

For over 7 years now, the Birthplace has been involved in the Tanabata Festival of Yawata City in Japan .  The Festival is based on a myth about 2 stars that appear on either side of the Milky Way in the summer sky.  Orihimi (Vega) was the weaver of heavenly cloth for the sky gods and Hikoboshi (Altair) was a lowly cowherd.  They met each other at the Ama-no-Gawa (Milky Way) and fell in love.  They began to neglect their work in order to be together.  Orihimi’s father, the sky god Tentei, forbid them to see each other. They pleaded with him and he relented and allowed them to be with each other for one day of the year.  The festival, dedicated to remembering the two lovers, is celebrated all over Japan and in China.  Since the heart of the festival celebrates the lovers’ wish to be together, wishes are written on wide strips of paper and hung on the branches of bamboo trees as the main feature of the festival.  Where does Mr. Edison come in?  For about 10 years Edison brought bamboo from the forests of Mt. Otokoyama above Yawata City(a suburb of Kyoto) to make filaments for his light bulbs.  He is very revered in Japan and there is a large monument to him on the mountain. Milan, where Edison was born, is a sister city to Yawata City and has been since the early 1980’s, when a Japanese businessman, Saburo Tatemoto, established the Kyoto Otokoyama Edison Association and reached out to Milan and the Birthplace for friendship. Many happy exchanges of people and gifts have been made over the years, especially artwork from the elementary school in Milan and the children of Yatawa City.  This year the Birthplace, Milan school children and the mayor and children of Yawata City are going to try a SKYPE session by computer during the festival! This is a first!  They will talk to each other through interpreters and the Director of the Birthplace and the mayors of the two cities will talk.  The object is to continue to bring friendship and increase respect between two places who can claim to be special for Thomas Edison.  Happy Tanabata! May all your wishes come true!

PPG Pittsburgh, PA & Huron, OH Revitalize Edison Birthplace

Textbook Painting Office
PPG Pittsburgh, PA and Huron, Ohio were onsite with employee volunteers from it’s plant in Huron, OH and paint contractors from Textbook Painting in Avon Lake, OH to revitalize and restore parts of the museum through completion of painting projects and landscaping as part of PPG COLORFUL COMMUNITIES program on Mon, Sept 12, 2016. 15 third-grade students from Edison Elementary in Milan were also on-site to participate in Carnegie Science Center’s “Great Color Caper”, a program that teaches the science of light and color. PPG also presented a grant donation of $20,000 on behalf of its architectural coatings business to the Museum to support ongoing STEM educational programming for students. Mayor Steve Rockwell made a proclamation and museum Trustee President Robert KL Wheeler, great great grand-nephew of Thom
as Edison also spoke for the museum. PPG’s COLORFUL COMMUNITIES Parlor 3program provides employee volunteers, donated products and financial contributions to bring color and vitality to communities where the company operates around the world. The program increases PPG’s commitment to invest in communities by adding $10 million to support efforts made during a 10-yr period, starting in 2015. The museum is very honored to be a recipient of such generosity.


International Museum Day May 20, 2017

The Edison Birthplace will be celebrating International Museum Day on Saturday, May 20th, 2017 with all the other museums in Erie County. We will have free walk-thru tours for the public and games from Tom’s boyhood. Come and make a light bulb ornament! Special hours will be 11am – 4pm.EBP signature logo copy

Ohio Statue of Thomas Edison finally resides in Washington, DC

Wheeler Fam in Wash
The statue in Washington, L to R  Linda Wheeler, Alan Cottrill, Alex Wheeler, Robert Wheeler (great great grand nephew of Thomas Edison)

A  bronze, larger-than-life statue of Thomas Edison now resides in Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.  The 6 ft. 10 in. statue, standing on a large granite base, is one of two representing Ohio; President James Garfield is the other. The road to Washington for Mr. Edison had been very long, since he was nominated by a loyal group of citizens in 2009.  The statue itself was crafted by Alan Cottrill of Janesville, OH.  Mr. Edison is standing in a characteristic pose, one hand in his pants pocket.  The other hand and arm are extended out, holding an incandescent light bulb.

Edison & Don Gfell
Don Gfell with the statue outside of the Milan Berlin Library

No citizen campaigned more fervently for Mr. Edison to reside in Washington, DC than Don Gfell of Milan, Vice-President of the Board of Trustees of the Edison Birthplace Association and  lover of all things Edison.

Mr. Edison spent the summer of 2016 in the glass entry of the Milan Berlin Library, after being displayed for a year in the capital rotunda in Columbus.  From humble beginnings in Milan to being the “Man of the Millennium” according to Time magazine, Thomas Alva Edison’s life and work still resonate with people everywhere.  In Milan, we are honored, not only to be the “Birthplace of Invention”, but to also be the force to honor this great man with a lasting tribute in our nation’s capital.


Edison Statue Spends Summer in Milan

Thomas Edison is spending the summer in his hometown!  It’s been a long road to Washington for Thomas Edison, starting in 2007, when support was rallied all over the state for Edison to be the replacement statue for Gov. Allen in Statuary Hall of the Capitol Building in Washington, DC.  Edison was chosen as the statue in 2012, and Alan Cottrill of Zanesville was chosen as the sculptor.  Mr. Edison spent a year in Columbus and now he’s come back to Milan for the summer!  He will be in residence until Sept. 9, 2016, when he will be traveling to Washington, DC.  The ceremony for his installation will be Sept. 21, 2016 at the Capitol Bldg. in Washington.  You can view the impressive statue at the Milan Library on Church St. in Milan.  For library hours click hereIMG_2975 (1)

Thomas Edison statue unveiled in Columbus for Ohio to see

A cover was pulled off the 6-feet, 10-inches tall bronze statue of Thomas Alva Edison, not including the base, in the rotunda of the Ohio Statehouse where it will remain until October before making the trek to Washington to be installed in Statuary Hall of the US Capitol Building.  “I think he inspires everyone who learns about his life and comes into contact with his legacy in any manner,” said Zanesville sculptor Alan Cottrill who crafted the statue.  “I had to kind of throw myself into his personality and try to pull out those elements of myself, those few elements that I share with him. He was a dynamite man. He was a ball of fire.”

Douglass W. McDonald, president and chief executive officer of the Cincinnati Museum Center, which was involved in the process of choosing a sculptor for the statue said, “We were thoroughly impressed by the credentials and designs of the three finalists we considered for the project, but ultimately felt that Mr. Cottrill’Alan Cottrill (2)s representation of Thomas Edison was the one we wanted to represent Ohio in the Capitol.  Mr. Cottrill’s design captures the ingenuity and industriousness in Edison that is inside every Ohioan.”

“This piece is special to me,” said Cottrill, who has turned out hundreds of sculptures, many of them for public spaces, including an 8-foot bronze likeness of former Ohio State University football coach Woody Hayes on the main campus.

Before even beginning the sculpting process, Cottrill looked at hundreds of photos of Edison, read everything about him he could get his hands on, and visited Edison’s boyhood home, the Edison Birthplace Museum in Milan.

Edison statue has its right arm raised, holding up the incandescent light bulb that he helped to perfect. Music from one of his inventions, the phonograph, played during the ceremony.

The Ohio Statuary Hall Commission is trying to raise roughly $250,000 to pay for the statue, its transportation to the U.S. Capitol, and the return of the statue it will replace, that of Civil War Gov. William Allen.  Ohio lawmakers began the process of replacing Allen’s statue because of the former governor’s tolerance of slavery and opposition to the Civil War and to President Lincoln’s policies.

The effort to locate the statue in the Capitol Building received a big boost with the announcement that the Charles Edison Fund — named for Thomas Edison’s son who served as governor of New Jersey and U.S. Secretary of the Navy — plans to match each donation dollar for dollar up to $125,000.  Donations so far have totaled $45,000, much of it directly out of Milan.

The figure of Ohio’s other representative in Statuary Hall, that of assassinated President James Garfield’s statue, will not be replaced.



International Museum Day May 16, 2015

IMD FB 2015

The Edison Birthplace Museum will be open on Sat., May 16, 11 am – 4 pm with walk-thru tours by costumed guides, children’s games of Tom Edison’s youth outside and toys for play inside the Birthplace Home.  Antique phonographs will be demonstrated in the Welcome Center.  Special admission price – $1.00 per person!   That’s $6 off adult admission! $5 off senior admission! $4 off child/youth 5-17 admission!  Under 5 yrs old are free. Come and see this important National Historic Landmark and other great museums in Erie County, Ohio!

Erie County Community Foundation’s Generous Support

ECCF Banner

The Edison Birthplace website has been redesigned through a generous grant from the Erie County Community Foundation in Sandusky, Ohio.  The Foundation has also funded many other projects for the Birthplace, such as  furnaces and air conditioning equipment, uv-light filtering shades, computer equipment and new roofing.

EBP Closed in January