Museum of Communications

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Panel switch district selector frame at the Museum of Communications

The Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications, originally the Vintage Telephone Equipment Museum, is located in Centurylink's Duwamish Central Office at East Marginal Way S. and Corson Avenue S. in Georgetown, Seattle, Washington. It "reveals the history of the telephone and the equipment that makes it all work." The museum was originally sponsored by the Washington Telecom Pioneers, and is now a part of the Telecommunications History Group, based in Denver, CO. It features vintage equipment from AT&T, Western Electric, Pacific Northwest Bell, USWest, and other organizations.


The museum was founded as a joint effort by Pioneers, a Volunteer Network, a non-profit public service organization, and Don Ostrand and Herb Warrick, both employees of Pacific Northwest Bell. Originally envisioned to be one of three telephone museums in the Pacific Northwest, this was the only one that materialized.[1] Work started in 1985,[2] and the museum opened to the public in Fall of 1989.[3] Frames of electromechanical switching equipment were brought in from existing central offices, and lifted to the third floor by cranes. From there, volunteers rewired the equipment to make it functional once again.

In 2016 the museum was featured on a popular YouTube channel run by Tom Scott, as part of the "Things You Might Not Know" series.[4]


Teletype, microwave, and radio equipment at the museum.

The museum has the following notable items in its collection:

Most of the artifacts in the museum's collection are functional, and are maintained regularly by volunteers. The electro-mechanical switching systems, particularly the No. 1 and Panel offices, are the only remaining switches of their type in the world that are still functioning.[6] The No.5 crossbar office is one of two that operate in a museum setting in the U.S. (the other is at The Telephone Museum in Ellsworth, Maine). Although they are no longer connected to the PSTN, visitors can make calls between the switches in the museum.


  1. ^ "Mercer Islander saw value in old phone technology - Mercer Island Reporter". Mercer Island Reporter. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  2. ^ "Past still calls to us at museum". The Seattle Times. 2008-07-17. Retrieved 2016-06-18. 
  3. ^ "Vintage Telephone Museum". KOMO News. 1989-09-18. Retrieved 2016-06-17 – via Youtube. 
  4. ^ Tom Scott (2016-12-12), In Old Movies, Why The Dial Tone After Someone Hangs Up?, retrieved 2017-01-10 
  5. ^ Broom, Jack (8 Sep 1995). "But Does It Take Dimes?". Seattle Times. Retrieved 17 Jun 2016 – via 
  6. ^ Autumn, Sarah. Full Mechanical: Care and Feeding of Your Panel Machine Switching System. Museum of Communications: Unpublished, Privately held record. pp. 4, 5. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 47°32′26″N 122°19′25″W / 47.54056°N 122.32361°W / 47.54056; -122.32361