While the Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications may claim to cover the history of communications, it may be more accurate to call it a museum of the telephone. However, this narrow scope does not make their collection of vintage telephony equipment any less fascinating.
Beginning with a replica of the very phone Alexander Graham Bell used to speak the immortal words, “Mr. Watson, come here! I need you!” to relatively contemporary phone booths that were once ubiquitous. The museum is located in an actual former switching station that is now Centurylink’s Duwamish Central Office. This allows the collection to encompass such monumental pieces of vintage equipment as huge banks of switching relays from across a number of eras. In addition to the larger relics of telecommunication, there are also a large number of period phones from across the 20th century and before.
The museum holds a special focus on the products of AT&T, a once monolithic communications company. The collection also holds a small section devoted to the UNIX operating system created by Bell Labs in 1969.
Possibly the most remarkable aspect of the Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications is the fact that a good number of their phones and gear on display, still work. Getting a phone call at this museum must be a hellish experience.