is to demonstrate the social and technical significance of the telephone network from 1876 to the present, using working equipment to provide tangible, operable evidence of an evolving technology.
the inventiveness, craftsmanship, ingenuity and industry of the telecommunications community through educational programs, exhibits, and special events.
"It's for YOU"
April 6, 2013 in Ellsworth, Maine was a sparkling, sunny day – and also pretty darn cold and windy. In spite of the mischievous weather, and the cold that refused to depart the main museum building, the ground breaking ceremony for the museum’s new Visitor Center commenced promptly at noon.
Charlie Dunne, a founder of the museum and Chairman of the Development Committee and Martin Harriss, the museum’s President both thanked the many people and organizations who contributed to the museum’s fund-raising efforts, most notably Ann Beck, President of the Independent Telecommunications Pioneers of America (ITPA), who presented the museum with the second of three $20,000.00 checks granted for construction of the building.
Ann Beck spoke enthusiastically of the museum’s progress, as did Michelle Beal, City Manager of Ellsworth, Maine. Also attending were Gil Bockus and his wife, Clem. Gil has been a mainstay of support for The Telephone Museum, and a long-time member, officer and friend to the ITPA. In appreciation for his many years with the Pioneers, Ann Beck presented Gil with a Lifetime Achievement Award: an engraved crystal obelisk.
Local markets contributing food for the participants were the Friends & Family store and Hannaford’s. NewLand Nursery and Landscaping dressed up the premises, and Wallace Tent & Party Rentals granted a discount. Museum members Doug Arntzen, Ron & Barbara Boucher, Charlie Dunne & Liz Lenart, Sandra Galley, Martin Harriss, Rick Miller, Chad Perkins, Dave & Barbara Thompson, and Jeff & Jill Webber helped clean-up, decorate, provide food, and otherwise assist at the event.
Turning over the first shovelfuls of ground represents the beginning of construction on a building that will make the museum more inviting to both visitors and volunteers. Restrooms, a meeting space, office space and a small kitchenette will provide a much needed, comfortable, accessible headquarters for tours, talks and general museum operations.
Although the project is almost completely funded, rising costs have kept the financial goal just beyond reach. If you haven’t already contributed to this worthwhile project, please help out now. And, join us in the very near future when the Visitor Center opens and welcomes new explorers on the journey through telephone history.
Why did a certain type of messaging system lead to the invention of the telephone? What do a kite, a human ear, and a grain of wheat have in common? How do you “dial” a telephone?
With these intriguing questions as a starting point, The Telephone Museum began a collaboration with the Bangor Area YMCA’s Camp Jordan to introduce campers to the history of telephony. Long a goal of the museum, the idea of having kids from the neighboring summer camp tour the museum was brought to fruition when Sandra Galley, the museum’s vice-president and Emerald Russell, director of Camp Jordan, began discussions last fall.
It was decided to try weekly visits during the month of July by a dozen or so campers in the 8-12 year old age group. The trips would be offered as “free time” activities and counselors would accompany the campers. Volunteers from the museum would lead the tours.
Dave Thompson, museum treasurer, and board member Jeff Webber generously volunteered to meet the groups on Tuesday afternoons. Their biggest surprise was the number of French-speaking youngsters from Quebec whose parents enrolled them at the camp as English-speaking experience.
In spite of a few transportation problems, this first program was encouraging on both sides. The children were enthusiastic and generally well behaved, and The Telephone Museum board was successful in achieving a connection with a new generation of museum-goers.