Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission



New Exhibit Offers Unique View of the History of
Film in New Jersey


APRIL 18, 2012 – New Jersey’s contributions to the birth and development of the film industry in the United States will take center stage in a new exhibit at the Middlesex County Museum.

Lights! Camera! Action! History of Film 1890-1960 in New Jersey explores the role the Garden State played in movie history. More than 13 studios – including Universal Studios, Goldwyn pictures (the forerunner of MGM), Paragon Studio and the Fox Film Corporation -- were active in our state.

Lillian Gish, Theda Bara, Rudolph Valentino, Marian Davies, Mack Sennett, Ethel Barrymore, Lou Abbott and Roscoe “Fatty” Arbuckle and many others got their start here.

“It’s incredible when you think about all the talent and all the innovation that came out of our own backyard, in fact Thomas Edison invented the movie camera here,” said Freeholder Charles E. Tomaro, chair of the County’s Business Development and Education Committee. “I commend The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission for researching and sharing this treasure trove of American cinematic history.”

The exhibit will kick off at 2 p.m. this Sunday with a reception inside The Cornelius Low House Museum/Middlesex County Museum. Guest curators will be on hand to discuss this landmark project.

The Museum is located at 1225 River Road in Piscataway.

Five of the seven rooms of the display have video, showing film shorts from the early 1900s. One room is the “movie center” in which a series of silent films are on a continuous loop for viewing at any time.

To register for the Reception please call 732-745-4489.

Lights! Camera! Action! is offered without charge and will be open to the public  8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, and 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays (except holidays). The exhibit will be on display through Dec. 31. 

Middlesex County Freeholder Director Christopher D. Rafano said: “Middlesex County has a wealth of history and culture and it is our responsibility as elected officials to ensure that that history is not only made available to our residents but is celebrated and preserved.  On behalf of the Freeholder Board I encourage residents to come to the exhibit and help us keep history alive.”  

For exhibit details please call the curator at the Museum, 732-745-4177 during regular hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Persons with hearing disabilities may dial 732.745.3888 (TTY users only) or 711 the New Jersey Relay System. The first floor of the Museum is accessible to people with disabilities; the second floor is available via narrated presentation on computer tablet.  An Assistive Listening System is available and will be in use at all times.  An American Sign Language interpreter can be provided without charge with a two-week advance request.  Wheelchairs are on site and may be borrowed by visitors during their stay or for those who may need assistance from the parking lot to the Museum. Call ahead and we will meet you at your car.

School groups are welcome. On-site workshops are led by the Museum Educator. To schedule a school tour please telephone 732.745.4489.

Lights! Camera! Action! is funded in part by the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, and New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State.