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Date: Thursday, July 27, 2017
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum
The screening of the PBS American Experience documentary “Edison” is companion programming designed to complement Things Come Apart, an exhibit from the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. The screening is free but we ask anyone who wishes to see the film to register to guarantee seating.
Things Come Apart is on display in the Special Exhibits Gallery from July 15 to October 8, 2017.
By the time he died in 1931, Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most famous men in the world. The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history, he had amassed a fortune and achieved glory as the genius behind such revolutionary inventions as sound recording, motion pictures, and electric light.
Born on the threshold of America’s burgeoning industrial empire, Edison’s curiosity led him to its cutting edge. With just three months of formal schooling, he took on one seemingly impossible technical challenge after another, and through intuition, persistence, and a unique team approach to innovation, invariably solved it.
Driven and intensely competitive, the inventor was often neglectful in his private life and could be ruthless in business. Challenged by competition in the industry he’d founded, Edison launched an ugly propaganda campaign against his rivals, and used his credibility as an electrical expert to help ensure that high-voltage electrocution became a form of capital punishment.
When Edison died on October 18, he lay in state for two days in the library of his West Orange complex, as thousands of people lined up to pay their final respects. On the third night, at the request of President Herbert Hoover, radio listeners across the country switched off their lights as a reminder of what life would have been like without Edison.
The film explores the complex alchemy that accounts for the enduring celebrity of America’s most famous inventor, offering new perspectives on the man and his milieu, and illuminating not only the true nature of invention, but its role in turn-of-the-century America’s rush into the future.
Length: 112 minutes