Friends, Lovers of Pre-Digital Communications Technology, Hackers and Fans of Exploding the Phone:
The machines are alive in “The Barn” in the woods just outside Ellsworth, Maine. They should not be functioning. No longer needed by the world they served, they are supposed to be in a landfill, or recycled. Dead. Forgotten.
But they’re not.
Instead, in this most unlikely place, an incredible array of amazing machines and devices, representing the best of communications technology from the late 1800s through the 1970s is alive and well. At The Telephone Museum, you can hack into a lovingly restored working #5 Crossbar switch, play with functioning switchboards and even place a call from an 1898 magneto phone to your best friend’s cell phone.
Next door to the barn, at the Museum’s Visitor Center, there is a temporary exhibit inspired by Exploding the Phone. The exhibit introduces visitors to the inventions, inventors and engineers who created the switching machines and the networks that intrigued some of the first hackers and provided the playground for their adventures.
At the moment however, the focus is on “The Barn”, the main exhibits building, because it has a serious problem. Built in 1987, The Barn is sided with a plywood product known as T11. This siding serves both decorative and structural functions – and it is failing. To prevent the collapse of The Barn, we need to stabilize it by re-skinning it with exterior grade plywood and then applying a new architecturally consistent aluminum siding. Naturally, due to the size of the building, this is not an inexpensive proposition.
As of this writing, pledges and contributions in-hand total approximately $35,000 of the $50,000 needed to begin the work in the Spring of 2018. We are excited to have come this far along in the fund raising, but we need your special donation now in order to save The Barn and its historically important working artifacts.
Contributions of any size are appreciated. Gifts of $150 or more will be specially acknowledged on a plaque installed in The Barn after the re-siding is complete. The plaque will reflect the level of each donation, especially honoring those who pledge $1,000 or more.
Your gift can be made via PayPal using the link on The Telephone Museum website or by cash or check. Please note “Barn Fund” when entering the “Reason for Donation.”
The Museum is a 501(c)3 organization, all your contributions are tax-deductible. We are so grateful for your help in preserving history.
Mail for the Museum may be sent to: The Telephone MuseumP.O. Box 1377Ellsworth, ME 04605-1377