Radio Museum of CT – Thursday Doors

There’s a lot of work in that cabinet.

Last Saturday, I decided to visit the Vintage Radio and Communications Museum of Connecticut. I had driven by this museum hundreds of times when traffic on the highway forced me to seek an alternate route. I kept thinking that I’d tour the museum one day. I never did, but I added it to the list of places I was going to visit after I retired. I got off to pretty good start, but then…well, we all know what happened to those plans.

Museums in Connecticut were ordered closed in March 2020. In August, museums were allowed to reopen, provided they instituted operating procedures that comply with state guidelines. Recently, as infection rates increase, the state is reconsidering these guidelines. I wanted to visit this museum now, in case it is ordered to close once again.

During my visit, there were only two other people touring the exhibits. We were able to maintain a very safe distance from each other.

The museum’s contents, exhibits and the various items on display were almost too much to take in. The main museum area is laid out chronologically, beginning with radio equipment and experiments from over 100 years ago. From a technology point of view, I was overwhelmed. Now that I understand what is available for study, I think I will plan a second visit.

What I can offer from my visit to this museum is a nice group of doors. There was a time when radios, TVs and entertainment consoles were built to be items of furniture. These doors are brought to you as part of Norm Frampton’s fun weekly blogfest called Thursday Doors. Each week, Norm invites door lovers from around the world to leave a link to their collection of doors. If you want to see Norm’s doors and the doors others have left, visit Norm’s site and have a look.

75 comments

  1. Great post Dan. I love your phrase, “When entertainment was furniture” – so apt. The work on those cabinets is masterful – technology encased in art. As I looked at those shots I just realised again, we do indeed stand on the shoulders of giants.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Oh my, memories flood with this museum visit. When I was quite young, Mom was ill and I had to stay with my great uncle and aunt. At the end of the day, my uncle would come home, wash up, and sit beside the radio. It seemed he would listen for hours. Though I didn’t understand, I knew my uncle loved that old radio. Wish I had it now! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I can almost picture that scene, Gwen. People born after a certain year wouldn’t understand, but I still remember seeing the old radios in people’s homes, and our TV and High-fi were in cabinets. My mother would load up show tunes and musical soundtracks on Saturday morning as she cleaned.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting stuff – and a trip into a time capsule of technology. Another example of how many of us need to be reminded that everything has a history. Oh how far we’ve come. Interesting how you took this idea and fit it into the doors theme. Well done!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. This area of technology changes so fast today, Frank that you skip several generations as a child is growing up. Our daughter had a cassette Walkman, a CD Walkman, iPods and then phones. The biggest change in my life was getting a transistor radio when I was 10, which I still had when I was in college.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. The idea of coming home and gathering around a radio to listen to a show – as a family – is lost. I remember gathering in the living room to watch shows like Bonanza. I also remember closing the doors on the TV console when we had company over. These are foreign concepts today.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. This museum is fabulous! I see radios and victrolas that look very much like what we had in our home and in the homes of everyone I knew. And I’m sure that first refrigerator (icebox!) sat in my grandma’s kitchen!

    The workmanship on those cabinets was outstanding. These pieces are treasures today. Where would we be today if not for these artists/craftsmen who showed us the way. Functional and beautiful was the sign of the times. No plastic. And NOT made in China! Thanks for the trip down memory lane!!
    Ginger

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My pleasure, Ginger. I remember seeing several of these in homes of friends and relatives. The second refrigerator looks like the one my college roommate and I had in our apartment. The underlying technology really hasn’t changed, but the notion of having a nice mix of form and function has suffered a few setbacks.

      Like

  5. So cool! Definitely my kinda place. I swear you’d lose me in there for the entire day.
    Looking at some of these brings back memories of the different pieces of furniture/record player/TV/Radio…etc.
    I guess plastic injection molding or mass-produced inexpensive sheet metal boxes and cabinets had yet to be perfected, so wood was the best option available.
    One other thing this post reminded me of is how much I miss museums :-(
    C’mon vaccine! Great post Dan.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s why I went, Norm. I miss going to museums and I didn’t want this one to get closed. They get lots of visitors, but they only have a crowd during their swap meets. I will definitely be back. I could have stayed longer, but I had somewhere else to go. I ended up rushing past several exhibits. The manager said that a lot of people end up coming back a second time.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very cool, Dan! You have a lot of doors here, but my favorites are the last three that are with and under the phone booth. I was just scrolling along admiring radios when all of a sudden there was a refrigerator. :-) What a unique museum and one that could keep you occupied for quite a while.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

  7. These are all so beautiful, Dan. Craftsmanship sure isn’t what it used to be. My parents had some kind of cabinet for our Hi-Fi where my mother could keep all her records, and it had doors for the TV, too. It took up half the wall space where it was.
    Teletype machines…..we had those at my first job and darn, but I could never get the hang of it. Luckily, the billing department where the machine was took pity on me and would always help me out.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I learned to program on a teletype machine hooked up to the University of Pittsburgh’s computer. It was tucked into a closet in our high school. I remember my parents going to a furniture store to pick out a new HiFi. I still remember the little red light at the bottom.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Some people swear that the sound from an amplifier with tubes had a better quality than transistors. I’m reasonably sure it was a richer sound than we get from an MP3 track. I’m glad you liked this, Mike.

      Like

  8. Those bring back memories of our TV and stereo cabinets growing up. My mom still has the stereo. She uses it as a side table under a cover now. I’m sure it holds quite a few of my LP’s and old 45’s still.

    Several of those pieces are gorgeous. I like the arch window pane shaped radios a lot.
    Good tour! I’m looking forward to your return visit which I hope isn’t too far down the road.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Great shots, Dan. When TVs were introduced, they followed the entertainment as furniture idea. I remember out first was a 12-inch screen, and the set weighed a ton. I could spend a few hours there since I was a radio broadcaster back in college and the late 80s. I enjoyed seeing that 1925 HAM radio set up.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You would love this place, John. They have an operating radio station and HAM setup. They offer licensing classes and the even lend equipment to newly licensed HAMs who haven”t got their own equipment yet.

      Like

  10. I love these kind of museums, Dan! I want to go on record as saying anything with a hinge should fall under the ‘doors’ umbrella. :D. I love, love, love old phonographs and this is a magnificent collection. Bravo on making it under the shutdown wire and being able to do it safely. In Lincoln, my family have been able to increase their cultural exposure safely as well.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. The last three my favorites but the sci-fi looking one is great too! I was hoping you weren’t going to put on a large tv phonograph radio cabinet we had in the sixties—I would feel too old!😁

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Terrific take on the Doors posts, Dan. LOL, and who cares whether the refrigerators have anything to do with radios. They’re cool! (Ha! No pun intended.) You’re right — the cabinetry is gorgeous. That Victrola is a work of art. I like the “simple but I like it” photo, but I sometimes have trouble focusing on photos. What is it? Regardless, it’s a delightful tour. Thanks for bringing us along. Hugs on the wing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have to go back, Teagan, so I can learn what some of the really cool looking things do. Nice pun ;-)

      They were playing a recording of an orchestra that had been made on one of the Edison Cylinders. It had a wonderful sound, and it’s about 100 years old!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Wow, plenty of beautiful cabinetry and doors at this museum and it appears there is a lot to look at and discover. Reminds me of an antique mall when you don’t know where to look next. Looks of cool stuff, but it takes a few trips to get it all in.

    Happy Thursday, Dan. Stay stafe!

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Never associated radios with doors before. It does make sense. Like you mentioned the radio made the jump to tiny transistor devices. And now strangely enough most radio broadcasts are traveling via the internet to cell phones and computers. What an evolution ! Thanks Dan

    Liked by 2 people

  15. When we enter a museum, we travel in time and feel the presence of those who have come before. It is a comforting thought that allows us to give value to our current reality. I enjoyed tagging along with you Dan!

    Liked by 2 people

  16. I love museums, and this one would be wonderfully interesting. I’d really enjoy to wander around and so glad you were able to visit before it might be closed. I especially like the last three shots of the old radios and their cabinets.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. There was a time when radios, TVs and entertainment consoles were built to be items of furniture.

    You mean that big bulky blacking thing hovering over the fireplace mantel could be refashioned to look like it belonged there?

    What an alien concept!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thank you so much for sharing, Dan. My husband heard me OOOH and AHHING and wanted to know what I was looking at and in so doing, your post caught his eye too. He wanted me to send it to he email so I did. LOVED this. I would have been in that museum for hours!! I LOVE history and seeing and touching the “past”.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Dan – yes sometimes one just needs two visits to museums … or time to mull over – which I usually do … as going to London twice for the same thing doesn’t sit well with me – way too much else to do. Fascinating period pieces – which you’ll enjoy so much … the best you were there with only a couple of people – more room and space. I was always interested that Bang + Olufsen were originally a furniture company – not technology … similarly cars – originally were coach companies, rather than as we know them today. Great post and hope you can get back sometime early next year – all the best – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.