A Seattle museum that tells the story of how we communicate is relaunching with new exhibits and a fresh wave of energy, to reflect all of the changes in how people exchange words and ideas.
The Connections Museum, formerly the Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications, is tucked away in Georgetown, and the volunteers who run it say they hope to attract more visitors.
“It’s actually one of the best little museums that nobody has ever heard of,” said Ed Mattson, associate director of the museum.
Some of the equipment on display helped connect the very first phone calls in Seattle nearly a century ago.
“Everything we have today, your cell phone, your laptop, all of those components, those circuits that make those things run, came from this type of equipment, telephone switching equipment, these were the first computers,” Mattson said.
“I was completely taken aback by the collection of things they have here,” said Sarah Autumn, a volunteer who helps maintain and preserve the exhibits.
The team behind the museum says they have plenty of younger volunteers these days, many are tech workers in their 20s and 30s, who are trying to understand and explore the components that helped build the telecommunications industry.
“Someone’s got to keep this running,” Autumn said while working on switching equipment.
She volunteers alongside Les Anderson, 94, who still helps out a few times each week, and once worked on the same phone equipment during his career with Western Electric.
He still loves tinkering with the antiques. But that cell phone his kids bought him is a different story.
“I hate it, the darn thing never does what I want it to do,” he said.
The Connections Museum is open Sundays from 10 am to 3 pm. It is located at 7000 East Marginal Way South in Seattle.