Located at former military base Camp Evans in Wall, the Information Age Learning Center (InfoAge) may be one of New Jersey’s most unique museums. The museum’s Founder and Director Fred Carl says that it is multiple museums rolled into one.
Dubbed the Science and History Learning Center, InfoAge opened in 2006 with a goal of inspiring individuals – particularly young adults and children – to learn about the history of science, technology and communications in New Jersey.
In 1914, Camp Evans was originally home to the Marconi Belmar Trans-Atlantic Wireless Station, which played a role in wireless communications during World War I and was the first campus of The King’s College, which aided in the development of radar during World War II. The site was also the birthplace of satellite-based hurricane tracking, was a pre-NASA space research site and is said to have opened space communications in 1946, among other notable science and technology achievements.
When Camp Evans was closed in 1993 by the US Department of Defense, Carl – along with member groups – not only sought to preserve the space that it occupied, but wanted to honor the advancements made at the camp and throughout the entire state. Thus, InfoAge was born.
Carl asserts that InfoAge is a “consortium” of different museums. “We have a World War II museum about the electronics and radar that were used during that time; a World War II miniatures museum with dioramas of various scenes from the war; a ship wreck museum; a radio and television museum; a vintage computer museum; and, we maintain a library and archive with documents and photos relating to wireless, radio and radar history in the state,” he says.
The museum’s exhibits currently occupy 5 of the 16 buildings at Camp Evans. However, Carl says the complex is looking to expand in the next few months to add additional displays.
“Right now, we are working on putting heat and air conditioning, and are making repairs to a 7,000-square-foot area thanks to a grant from the State of New Jersey,” Carl says. “We are turning that space into a model railroad exhibit, classrooms and possibly a telephone museum. New Jersey has a lot of telephone history, but there is no museum in the state that showcases that.
“Additionally, we hope to open a 15,000-square-foot historic Army vehicle museum. We are constantly refitting existing buildings to serve the future as we save the past.”
Carl feels that InfoAge has achieved what it was initially created to do – to make the aforementioned aspects of New Jersey history “available to the public, so they can create a better future.
“Young folks can’t set personal goals unless they see what people have done before them,” he concludes. “Our museum shows them what one of the greatest generations did in the areas of electronics and innovation. It inspires young people to go into science and research fields, so they can make the products and inventions that will make their lives better.”