E.T. ‘Phones’ The Newark Museum

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NEWARK – When the stranded extra-terrestrial E. T. tried to contact his friends in outer space, he built a communicator from ordinary household items send a signal out into space and get a spaceship to come rescue him. But truth be told, E.T.’s communicator was devised right here in New Jersey.

Following its movie debut in 1982, an exact replica was donated by Bell Labs to the Newark Museum. In celebration of the 30th anniversary of this film classic, the Museum will be displaying the communicator from Nov. 8 to 25, and offering screenings and family programs.

The replica of E.T’s communicator was the creation of Henry Feinberg, former manager of corporate exhibitions at AT&T. He built the original communicator at the request of the film’s producers who said it needed to be made of household materials and it needed to be plausible. After the movie was released, Feinberg created this copy and donated it to the ,useum.

The Museum will show the Blu-Ray version of “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” on Saturdays and Sundays at 2 p.m. from Nov. 10 weekend through Thanksgiving weekend (On Thanksgiving weekend, the film will be screened on Friday, Nov. 23 and Sunday, Nov. 25). Admission is free and after each screening will be a drawing for a special 30th Anniversary Blu-Ray Edition of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial, courtesy of NBCUniversal and the Newark Museum.

On Nov. 17, at 1, 2 and 3 p.m., children are invited to take part in a D.I.G. Lab: E.T. “Phone Home” Workshop where they can design and take home their own “Phone Home” device that lights up and buzzes their messages to the stars. Participants will discover the science behind creating circuits and conducting electricity using hand-made insulating and conductive play dough. Space is limited to 20 children per workshop. Electronic kits are also available for purchase to take home. Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 1-973-596-6606. The workshop is free with suggested museum admission.

On Nov. 24 at 2 p.m., Exit 9 will present a musical performance of Beyond the Beat. One surprise follows another as this percussion ensemble uses DIY instruments to create music, from classical to ragtime to improvisation and more. Rusty brake shoes, garbage cans, and wooden stools supplant traditional instruments during this high-energy and humorous performance.

Visitors can also explore the galaxies that E. T. called home with programs in the Museum’s state-of-the-art Planetarium. Tales of the Maya Skies will be shown Wednesdays through Fridays at 2 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 2 and 4 p.m. With unprecedented realism Tales of the Maya Skies immerses viewers in Maya science, art and mythology, using full dome digital technology to transport visitors back into the world of the Maya. It shows the jungles of Mexico and the city of Chichén Itzá with its beautiful stepped pyramids, presenting the rich history, calendar, science and culture of the ancient Maya and their contributions to the modern way of life.

A second show, SkyQuest will be shown in the Planetarium on Saturdays and Sundays at 1 and 3 p.m. (except on Thanksgiving weekend when it will only be screened on Saturday at 1 p.m.) SkyQuest is an exploration of the stars, planets and constellations told from the viewpoint of an astronomer. Visitors see her lifelong fascination with the heavens, from her pretend adventures on Mars as a child to the discovery of her “birthday star.” These experiences led her to become an astronomer and build her own mountain-top observatory.

For additional information, visit the Newark Museum website at www.newarkmuseum.org or call 1-973-596-6550.

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