The Historical Society of Princeton’s Updike Farmstead will be illuminated with projected images relating to physicist Albert Einstein on Tuesday, October 10. This event is a part of world-renowned Swiss light artist Gerry Hofstetter’s Light Art Grand Tour USA, which will feature light projections on 50 landmarks in 50 states.
The three-year tour began on September 16 at Washington Crossing Historic Park in Pennsylvania. The team will visit one site in each state, making Updike Farmstead the only New Jersey site on the tour. The first year of the tour focuses on the original 13 colonies, followed in the second and third years by the remaining states, from East to West, along the route. This fall, Hofstetter will also display projections at Mount Vernon and Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library. The display organized for each monument or landmark will explore U.S. history and the connection between America and Switzerland.
Einstein lived in Bern, Switzerland for seven years between 1902 and 1909; during that time, he published more than 30 articles, six of which are still considered part of the canon of modern physics. This includes his theory of special relativity and discovery of the law of the photoelectric effect, which won him the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. Einstein moved to Princeton in 1933, where he spent the last 22 years of his life.
The Historical Society of Princeton is home to the Einstein Furniture Collection, 65 pieces of furniture owned and used by Albert Einstein in his Berlin and Princeton homes. In addition, HSP’s Gillett Griffin Collection contains Einstein’s personal belongings, including his pipe, compass, puzzle games, and the only-known self-portrait of Einstein. Highlight pieces from the collection, along with photographs, documents, and other interpretive material, are permanently on view in the farmhouse museum at Updike Farmstead.
Hofstetter and his team of experts will use a series of projectors to display multiple images, which will be photographed and filmed for an exhibition, a documentary and a book. The project will be unveiled in Switzerland in 2020, after which the exhibition will travel to museums and other landmarks throughout the U.S.
“We’re thrilled to host Gerry and his team at the Updike Farmstead,” said HSP Executive Director Izzy Kasdin. “Not only are our white historic farm buildings a perfect canvas for this kind of documentary artwork, but also HSP houses one of the most significant Einstein collections in the country. We’re so pleased to feature Einstein in this creative way.”
Attendance at the light show October 10 will be available to a limited number of members and guests on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $10 per person; HSP Members and children under 12 are free. Guests are invited to picnic on the property starting at 5:30 PM, and the performance starts at sunset. Light snacks will be provided. Registration is available online at www.princetonhistory.org.
For more on Hofstetter’s work and the Light Art Grand Tour USA, visit