Note: I wrote these “parting comments” back in 2005, over 15 years ago. As I’m updating the site in early 2021, many of these comments are moot and obsolete. Modern day comments will accompany the original comments. This was not a knock on the caretakers and volunteers of the museum, rather was hoping for some improvements for the experience. However, I hope to visit the museum someday after the current worldwide pandemic of 2020-2021 is eventually over.
The following are my personal comments on the Connections Museum Seattle (formerly called the Museum of Communications):
The Museum is a fascinating place! As I said before, I’ve wanted to visit the museum for several years and finally had the opportunity to do so. (Thanks to my family for putting up with me when we visited in May 2005!)
Here are some parting comments on the museum, and what I’d like to do if I ever get the opportunity to return:
If I were ever able to visit again:
1. I would take both still and video photos of all the switches in action. For example, I would take pictures of the linefinders go up and the wipers move when you take the phone off the hook and make a call on the step-by-step switch. (2021 addendum – the volunteers are actually doing just that and posting great videos to YouTube!)
2. I would take a tape recorder or (other recording device) and make recordings from each switch to show how making calls would sound. Its so different than the generic sounds you find on the modern digital network. (2021 addendum – the museum is now connected to the Collector’s Network (ckts.info) and you can actually dial into the museum when the museum is powered on. And as stated above, the volunteers are making great videos and posting them to YouTube!)
Comments to the Museum caretakers
1. All the phones that are connected to working central office switches should have their phone number printed on the phone dial. There were several phones that didn’t have their phone numbers listed – instead they had just a generic “(311) 555-1212” number.
2. There should be a list of the central office (prefix) numbers associated with each switch, and to see the tandeming arrangements (how the switches are interconnected to each other)
3. People should be encouraged to make calls on the switches. I had to ask to make calls. It seemed like they didn’t want the general public making calls.
4. There should be fairly detailed diagrams that explain exactly how the step-by-step, panel and crossbar offices work. I’m still in the dark on how panel and crossbar switches work.
(2021 addendum – Again, some of this is already being addressed)
Overall, I had a very fun time and can’t wait to return someday!
Back to Museum of Communications Home Page ->
Connections Museum Seattle Pages
Brochure from the Connections Museum Seattle
The brochure of the museum from 2005.
This page provides a brief background about the Museum, why it exists, and who runs it.
Third Floor Tour – Switching Equipment and more
Page 1 | Page 2
The tour starts on the third floor. Here is where you find old electo-mechanical switching equipment, old teletype machines, analog carrier equipment, old reel-to-reel tape recorders, and even an old AM radio transmitter.
Comments on my visit and what I would do if I were able to visit the museum again.