FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
miSci Receives Grant from the William Gundry Broughton Charitable Private Foundation for $75,000
Funding to Support the Exhibition Let's Connect! Exploring Communication Technology
November 17, 2022 – Schenectady, New York – The Museum of Science and Innovation (miSci) is honored to have been awarded a grant for $75,000 from the William Gundry Broughton Charitable Private Foundation, Inc. The funding will support the miSci exhibition Let's Connect! Exploring Communication Technology that opened at the Museum on September 23, 2022. After the exhibit concludes at miSci on May 14, 2023, Let’s Connect! will be offered as a traveling exhibition that the Museum will rent to other museums over the next decade, spreading miSci’s mission, “to inspire people to celebrate and explore science and technology past, present and future,” across the country while creating a new revenue stream to help sustain the organization.
The funding from the Broughton Foundation will support the fabrication of exhibition interactive components, graphic printing, kiosk laminates and finishes, structural components, and the restoration of a rare Collins Analog Radio Broadcast Mixer that will be included in the exhibit and was donated by William G. Broughton in 1971.
Let's Connect! Exploring Communication Technology tells the incredible story of how people connect with innovative communication devices. As technology has evolved - from carved writings, paper letters and radio broadcasting to instantaneous messaging from anywhere on Earth - it has altered the ways in which we interact. This dynamic exhibition explores the efforts of human beings to move an ever-growing quantity of information faster and farther than ever before. The exhibition is presented in five sections.
Key Learning Goals
• Information Technologies and Instrumentation
• Waves: Light and Sound
• Defining Engineering Problems
• Systems and System Models
Finding Our Voice
This section highlights early human efforts to standardize communication in ancient times and explores the first attempts to send information faster than humans could travel. Topics include coded signal flags and torch systems, how the invention of the printing press led to the first mass distribution of information and the spread of scientific knowledge, and how the first newspapers allowed for the dissemination of news and business advertising both within and between communities.
Interactives include: Spectrum Analyzer, Polybius Torches, Scytale Cylinder
Transportation systems introduced in the early 19th century allowed people and information to move faster and farther. Samuel Morse’s telegraph system of dots and dashes used electricity to create the first instantaneous long-distance communication system. Shortly after Morse sent his electrical impulses, Alexander Graham Bell became the first person to successfully transmit the human voice between two wired phones in 1876.
Interactives include: Joseph Henry Telegraph Experiment, Use a Telegraph, Morse Code Decoder, Call Me! (telephone switchboard)
A Wireless World
As dots and dashes turned to voice and large corporations gained control of this technology, college students and rogue engineers helped shape the medium. The young staff of the New York State Capital Region radio station WGY foresaw the use of radio for entertainment, creating the first radio drama, innovating the use of sound effects, and experimenting with a variety of programming. The creation of national radio networks brought similar programming to a wide audience and strengthened the national culture. The development of television (“radio with pictures”) gave broadcasting a visual element and superseded traditional radio entertainment programming.
Interactives include: See Waves with an Oscilloscope, Sound Effects Station, and 3 listening stations featuring miSci preserved recordings from the 1920s, 1930s and World War II
Radio at Work
Radio waves are used for applications beyond broadcasting. Amateur radio operators combine social and technical interests with public service and emergency preparedness to engage in a hobby that has been popular for more than a century. Today, the federal government allocates sections of the electromagnetic spectrum to amateur radio operators, corporations, and various government agencies that depend on radio for secure communication.
Interactives include: Operating amateur radio station, Streaming from Satellites, Audio Bandwidth
The Computer Age
Computers have transformed the way people communicate. Satellites make it possible to communicate with astronauts and relay information around the world. The miniaturization of electronics led to the creation of mobile smartphones, a single device that holds the power of the telephone, radio, television, and the Internet and allows us to communicate with people around the world instantly.
Interactives include: How Data Moves Around the Internet, 21st century Hieroglyphs, Moore’s Law
About William G. Broughton
William Broughton (1902–1994) was a GE radio engineer and amateur radio pioneer who funded the creation of the Schenectady Museum Amateur Radio Station (SMARA) in 1971 to bring together the interests of the Schenectady Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) and amateur radio operators. SMARA continues to operate a complete amateur radio station at the Museum under the call sign “W2IR”, the amateur call sign of William G. Broughton who donated the Collins radio equipment for the amateur radio station in memory of his father Henry Primm Broughton.
Located in Schenectady, New York, miSci presents exhibitions, programs, and events designed with its mission in mind: to inspire people to celebrate and explore science and technology – past, present, and future. Home to the Suits-Bueche Planetarium, the Museum's holdings include an archive of more than 1.6 million prints, negatives, and historic materials from the General Electric Photographic Collection, and more than 15,000 objects relating to the history of science and technology. Visit www.miSci.org to learn more.
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