Telephone Museum – Ellsworth, Maine - Atlas Obscura

Telephone Museum

As communication goes completely wireless, this Maine museum remembers all the wires that got us to this point. 


Tucked away in a Maine warehouse, the Telephone Museum has collected and preserves the nearly completely obsolete technology that was once the backbone of not only global communication but the very stepping stones which have led us to our current state of wireless ubiquity. 

Established in 1984 as the monolithic Bell Systems monopoly was dispersing, the Telephone Museum had the unique opportunity to save and refurbish a rare piece of telephonic technology known as the “Panel” which became the jewel of their collection. Over the years they continued to collect disused artifacts and equipment from the days of switchboards and exchanges. Old crank phones, hand-operated switchboards, and other antique talking apparatus are on display in the museum and in full working order. Guests are encouraged to pick up the receiver and make an analog call to each other in the museum. 

As the evolution of telephonic technology advances and the actual operation of communication becomes increasingly ephemeral, the Telephone Museum is making sure that hard work and innovation of the physical phone network is not forgotten and is in fact revered! 

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