Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum Receives 50K Grant for Don Gfell Education Center

For Immediate Release:

Monday, March 25, 2024

CONTACT: Robert Wheeler,, 419-706-3122

Birthplace Museum of Thomas A. Edison Awarded Major Grant for New Don Gfell Education Center

MILAN, OHIO, March 25, 2024 — The Edison Birthplace Museum is thrilled to be awarded a 2024 Destination Development Grant of $50,000 from Shores and Islands Ohio to support its ongoing capital improvements drive to expand and enrich the museum experience with a new education center that includes exciting hands-on activities and rare Edison artifacts.

Extensive remodeling and renovation is now underway at the Edison Birthplace Museum to create a brand new exhibit space for visitors named in honor of the late Don Gfell, a former superintendent of the Edison school district with a lifelong passion in educating and generating interest in the famous inventor with humble Milan beginnings. Gfell, who was instrumental in the exhaustive campaign to place a statue of Thomas Edison in the U.S. Capitol, amassed an extraordinary personal collection of Edison antiquities over decades, some of which will be publicly displayed for the first time when the Don Gfell Education Center opens later this year.

The Shores and Islands grant money is awarded annually to Erie and Ottawa County organizations and businesses for the purpose of boosting developing projects that will engage communities and to further promote local tourism. The new education center at the Thomas Edison Birthplace Museum aims to both reinvigorate community interest in its unique history and attract new visitors from near and far to see and learn about America’s most prolific innovator with engaging exhibits, hands-on displays, and more to immerse children and adults alike in the Edison brilliance.

With the Shores and Islands grant and the continued generosity of community members, the Birthplace Museum will make the memory of Don Gfell, Milan’s beloved educator and Edison booster, live on with an enriching educational resource and regional treasure. Donations allow it to happen. Contribute at or send checks payable to “Edison Birthplace Association” to: PO Box 451, Milan, Ohio 44846.

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