Radio Contact: Tuning in to Politics, Technology, and Culture opens March 11 at Harvard's Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

February 10, 2016

(Cambridge, MA) Radio Contact: Tuning in to Politics, Technology, and Culture is a new exhibition opening Friday, March 11 at the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments in the Harvard University Science Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  

Before the internet and social media, and before television, radio was the medium that informed, instructed, entertained, and connected people across cultures and geographic divides. Families gathered around the living room radio and listened together to Franklin Roosevelt’s “fireside chats” or to detective dramas like The Shadow. People of all ages tinkered with ham radios in order to talk to people across the country. Commercial, underground, and political networks broadcast to a far-flung society, giving voice to diverse ideas and music, freely available to all. Showcasing radio equipment from the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, this exhibition will examine the evolving technology and culture of listening, tinkering, and broadcasting. 

Radio introduced millions to jazz, the comedic duo of Abbott and Costello, the iconic voice of newsman Edward R. Murrow, and the shock therapy of talk radio. Come and tune in to a radio culture and history that is still vibrant and yet being redefined on the Internet.  

Radio Contact will be on display through December 9, 2016. The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, one of the four Harvard Museums of Science & Culture, is located in the Harvard Science Center at 1 Oxford Street in Cambridge, just a 6 minute walk across the historic campus from Harvard Square.  Radio Contact, in the second floor special exhibit gallery is open weekdays from 9 am to 5 pm. Admission is free and open to the public. The main Putnam Gallery on the first floor is open weekdays from 11 am to 4 pm. 

About the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments

Harvard University has been acquiring scientific instruments on a continuous basis for teaching and research since 1672. The Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, which was established in 1948 to preserve this apparatus as a resource for teaching and research in the history of science and technology, has become one of the three largest university collections of its kind in the world. Its displays include a selection of some 20,000 objects in the collection dating from about 1400 to the present. A broad range of scientific disciplines are represented, including astronomy, navigation, horology, surveying, geology, calculating, physics, biology, medicine, psychology, electricity, and communication. 

Radio Contact Exhibition Curators: Dr. Sara Schechner, Devin Kennedy, and Mia Metivier
Design by Samantha van Gerbig
With a soundscape installation by sound artist Halsey Burgund (with the collaboration of Brandon Stafford & Michael Grasso)
And a special Sounds, Stories, and Perspectives from the Boston Airwaves website by producer Ian Coss (with the collaboration of Julie Caine & Katherine Allen)

SUPPORT GENEROUSLY PROVIDED BY
David P. Wheatland Charitable Trust
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
Anonymous Donor

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Media Contact:  Blue Magruder, Director of Public Affairs
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
617-496-0049
Jean-Francois Gauvin
Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments
See also: Press Release