The Telecommunications History Group
(THG) hosts the Telecommunications Virtual Museum. We maintain and operate one of the nation's largest privately held telecommunications archives, two small museums in Denver, Colorado and The Museum of Communications
(formerly known as the Vintage Telephone Equipment Museum) in Seattle, Washington. Together, they comprise a permanent collective memory of the telecommunications industry, dedicated to preserving the history of the industry and to telling the stories behind the history.
We conduct educational programs on telephone history, offer tours of our museums and of the historic telephone building at 931 14th St. in Denver, and perform research services.
The Seattle Museum contains exhibits from 1876, starting with a model of Alexander Graham Bell's first successful creation of a telephone, to the modern cell phone that we all take for granted today. Automated displays and special exhibits permit your hands-on participation. Our museum exhibits are unique and virtually all the equipment is currently operational. The Museum of Communications is visited by people from all over the world and may well be the best museum of its type in the world.
Our Archives collection consists of:
- Over 80, 000 photographs - 1876-2003
- Historic documents from over 500 legacy telephone companies (stock certificates, ledgers, minute books, etc.)
- Telephone directories from 1890 to the present
- Public records concerning nearly 3,000 current telecommunications companies, current legislation, etc.
- Memoirs, scrapbooks, unpublished manuscripts, oral histories
- Policies and procedures - RPPs. IMs, BSPs, etc.
- Audio and video recordings - advertising, training, etc.
Extensive reference library of publications about the industry
- Artifacts - antique phones and equipment
We also publish a quarterly newsletter called Dial-Log
, available with each $25 membership, by mail, or through our main website
Why is it important to maintain these resources?
Besides preserving and celebrating the history of one of America's most dynamic and interesting industries, THG maintains these documents and artifacts to communicate the political, social and cultural values of recent and not-so-recent eras, with the belief that long-term memory enhances decision making and planning and provides historical perspective. These materials are a source for understanding and identification with society, the telecommunications industry, and ourselves. In addition, we maintain evidence of continuing rights & obligations.
Who uses our material and services?
Hours and Locations
The Denver archives
- School tours
- Scholars, authors, historians
- Telecommunications companies & advertising agencies
- Government agencies
- Lawyers (for example, helping "down-winder" cancer victims prove residency)
- Television and theater productions
are open to qualified researchers by appointment, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. THG staff provides research services to customers who are unable to access the archives themselves.
We are also available for education programs and presentations.
Tours of the museums in Denver are available by appointment. Call 303.296.1221.
Directions to Denver archive
1. Take the Colfax Ave exit and turn east (toward downtown Denver, away from the mountains) onto W. Colfax Ave.
2. Turn left onto Stout St.
3. Turn left onto 15th St.
4. Turn left onto Champa St.
1425 Champa, Room 570, Denver, CO 80202
THG, PO Box 8719, Denver, CO 80201-8719
The Museum of Communications (Seattle)
hours are: Tuesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and by appointment. Call 206.345.6305. Guided tours are provided by the volunteers.
We are just 1 1/2 miles north of The Museum of Flight on East Marginal Way South. Directions from I-5:
1. Exit at the Corson Avenue South, exit #162
2. Continue on Corson Avenue until you reach East Marginal Way
3. Turn left into the parking lot on the corner behind the concrete building
4. The museum is on the corner and is without windows
5. Park behind the building and walk to the fence
6. Go down the alley to the ramp
7. Open the door, take the elevator to the 3rd floor to start the tour
Note: The door is down the alley on the left side of the building. If the door is locked you have the wrong door. Look again.
The Museum of Communications,
7000 East Marginal Way South,
Seattle, WA 98108
PO Box 81103, Seattle, WA 98108-1103
There is no charge for admission to the museums, but donations are gratefully accepted. All of our museums are handicapped accessible.
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