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Museum of Radio and Technology, Huntington

Museums, Galleries and Archives (Local and County Historical Societies, Museums, and Archives)

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The Museum of Radio and Technology is one of the largest antique radio museums in the nation. It was founded in 1991 and occupies a former elementary school on the outskirts of Huntington. The volunteer-run museum showcases a broad collection of radios from throughout the twentieth century, including a few functional pieces. It also includes displays of early televisions, computers, telephones, and other devices. It annually hosts various meetings and events for radio collectors and enthusiasts from around the region. The museum is also the location of the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame, honoring over 200 West Virginian broadcasting icons.

The Museum of Radio and Technology, housed in the old Harveytown Elementary School building.
The Museum of Radio and Technology has a variety of different radios from the 1920s to modern times. Image obtained from the Museum of Radio and Technology.
The museum includes a fully functioning HAM radio set, available for anyone with a amateur radio license to use. Image obtained from the Museum of Radio and Technology.
In addition to radios, the museum contains many other pieces of technoogy such as these vintage computers. Image obtained from the Museum of Radio and Technology.
The museum is home to the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame, with over 200 inductees. Image obtained from the Museum of Radio and Technology.

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The museum’s inception dates to the 1980s, when members of the West Virginia branch of the Antique Radio Club of America decided to form a museum to store and display their radios. Originally the club operated in the West End of Charleston, but in 1991 they moved the museum into the former Harveytown Elementary School building on Florence Avenue in Huntington. Harveytown Elementary was in operation for over half a century before being closed and put up for sale due to consolidation. Its most famous alumnus was Hawkshaw Hawkins, a country music singer popular in the 1950s and 1960s. The school was purchased by the Antique Radio Club for $22,500 and grants were used to renovate the building. One of the classrooms in the museum is set aside to display memorabilia and information on the history of the elementary school.

The 10,000 square-foot facility is divided into eleven separate exhibits with over 2,000 pieces. Prominent are the sections on 1920s and 1930s radios; television sets from the 1940s and 1950s; military communication equipment; and computers from the 1970s and 1980s. Other areas include a recreation of an old radio station, and a collection of vintage A. C. Gilbert toys such as chemistry and Erector sets. Some of the more noteworthy items are a 1927 RCA Radiola that belonged to the Wrigley family (of Wrigley’s Chewing Gum); a television camera used for the 1939 New York World’s Fair; a grandfather clock radio; a World War II Japanese radio; a working crystal radio; and the first color television camera from local news station WSAZ.

One part of the museum contains a fully functioning HAM radio set, known as WV8MRT. It is available for use to anyone with an FCC license; it also serves as a testing location for anyone wanting to obtain a license. There is a reference library and gift shop, both of which offer many books, magazines, and manuals on radio collecting and repairing. The museum hosts various events throughout the year such as swap meets, repair classes, auctions, flea markets, and monthly meetings of the Tri-State Amateur Radio Association. The Museum of Radio and Technology is also the site of the West Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame. First established in 2006, the Hall of Fame honors over 200 notable West Virginians in the broadcasting industry. Inductees range from actors like Don Knotts to local news anchors and radio hosts. 

Sources

Beal, Clyde. “Clyde Beal: Huntington’s Museum of Radio and Technology has a lot to offer.” The Herald-Dispatch. March 29, 2015. Accessed January 18, 2018. https://www.herald-dispatch.com/features_entertainment/clyde-beal-huntington-s-museum-of-radio-and-technology-has/article_2c79b8a2-33c6-578f-8c4e-05d2f0e81a2b.html.

Nolan, Dawn. “Museum of Radio and Technology.” The Beckley Register-Herald. January 20, 2013. Accessed January 18, 2018. https://www.register-herald.com/news/sunday_profile/museum-of-radio-technology/article_f4f0253e-8ebb-5d65-aa22-b8a394325b5a.html.

Smith, Charlotte Ferrell “Museum of Radio and Technology channels memories of a bygone era.” Charleston Gazette-Mail. October 16, 2014. Accessed January 18, 2018. https://www.wvgazettemail.com/arts_entertainment/museum-of-radio-and-technology-channels-memories-of-a-bygone/article_ce6382b5-d7c0-59f1-99f9-bd8a0810ec3d.html.

Smith, Charlotte Ferrell. “W.Va. museum displays radio, technology history.” The Washington Times. October 25, 2014. Accessed January 18, 2018. https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/25/wva-museum-displays-radio-technology-history/. 


Address
1640 Florence Ave
Huntington, WV 25701
Phone Number
(304) 525-8890
Hours
10-4 Saturdays and 1-4 Sundays. The Museum is also open from 10-4 on most Fridays in late Spring, Summer, and early Fall.
Tags
  • Music and Entertainment History
  • Science and Technology
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This location was created on 2014-03-30 by Taylor Casto .   It was last updated on 2018-01-18 by Clio Admin .

This entry has been viewed 2027 times within the past year

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