Where are you located?
We are five miles south of downtown Seattle at 7000 East Marginal Way South in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. We are just a bit north of the King County Airport (“Boeing Field”) and about 1.5 miles north of the Boeing Museum of Flight (which we encourage you to visit if you have not already done so).
How do I get there?
Via taxicab: If you are staying in downtown Seattle, the fastest way to reach us is via taxicab.
Via bus: You may also reach us via public transportation. Take either bus #124 (from Third Avenue in downtown Seattle) and get off at Ellis Avenue South and South Myrtle Street (then walk 0.35 miles to the museum) or take bus #132 from Third Avenue in downtown Seattle and get off at South Michigan Street and East Marginal Way South (then walk 0.5 miles to the museum). Be sure to verify your bus route in advance using the online trip planner at http://tripplanner.kingcounty.gov/
- Exit at the Corson Avenue South, exit #162.
- Continue on Corson Avenue South. The Museum is just past the intersection of Corson Avenue South and South Willow Street.
- As you approach South Willow Street, you will notice a three-story telephone office on your left with a white concrete panel exterior and very few windows—the museum is in this building.
- Look for the sidewalk sign on your left advertising the museum. Then turn left into the parking lot.
NOTE: Corson Avenue South ends at East Marginal Way South (a major street with a stoplight). The museum entrance is before this intersection. If you go too far, turn left at the stoplight and make several left turns to circle back around the museum.
- Park behind the building and walk to the chain-link fence.
- Turn right and go up the ramp.
- Go through the door and take the elevator to the 3rd floor to start the tour.
From State Route 99/East Marginal Way South
- From the north, take SR99 through downtown Seattle (“the viaduct”) and continue southward on East Marginal Way South. Turn left at the intersection of Corson Ave South (at the stoplight) and make an immediate right turn into the museum parking lot.
- From the south, take East Marginal Way South (past Boeing Field/King County Airport) and turn right at the intersection of Corson Ave South (at the stoplight) and make an immediate right turn into the museum parking lot.
When are you open?
We are open every Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm. Note that the doors close at 2:30 pm to allow visitors remaining in the museum to finish their tour without distraction. We are no longer open on Tuesdays.
Do I need reservations?
Not normally. For groups larger than eight to ten visitors, we ask that you call ahead at least two weeks in advance to ensure that we have enough tour-guides available.
Do you charge admission?
Suggested donation is $5 for adults and $2 for youths aged 12 to 18. Parents with children under twelve are encouraged to first visit the museum without their children to determine the suitability of museum exhibits for younger visitors. Telecommunications History Group members are admitted free (see “How do I join THG and what are benefits of membership?” elsewhere in this FAQ).
Please note that while our museum receives in-kind support from CenturyLink (our host), we receive most of our financial support from private donations and from contributions from visitors.
Should I visit the museum with children?
Our experience has been that children under twelve typically aren’t able to benefit from an extended museum visit. We encourage parents to visit the museum first (without their children) to determine the appropriateness of a visit with younger children. All visitors (including younger and not-so-young visitors) are expected to adhere to normal and respectful behavior and follow any requests made of them by museum tour-guides. This includes refraining from disruptive behavior that might cause harm to museum equipment, other visitors or museum staff, or to themselves.
Note also that many items in the museum are old, fragile, and of significant historical interest. Guests should ask permission before handling any museum items to avoid damaging them.
To summarize, all children are to be under adult supervision at all times.
May I take photos at the museum?
Casual photography of museum exhibits for personal use is permitted. We ask that photos be shared only with family and friends. Please do not post or distribute still or video photos (or sound recordings) on web sites or via social media or download sites without written permission from the museum or The Telecommunications History Group (our parent organization).
Limited commercial use of the museum exhibits and facility for film or video production is possible by written agreement (including associated fees and licensing restrictions) provided that it does not interfere with normal museum activities. Contact the museum for additional details.
It is possible to visit the museum at other times?
We try to avoid off-hours tours due to our limited volunteer staff. Generally speaking, it’s best to tour the museum when our volunteers are all here and working with exhibits and visitors. On rare occasions, we may be able to accommodate an off-hours tour but this is strictly on a case-by-case basis. Suggested donation for an off-hours tour is a minimum of $50 (plus $5 per head for groups larger than ten guests).
How long does it take to go through the museum?
Tours last from one to three hours—this varies with your specific interests and technical background. You should allow at least two hours for your tour, so plan accordingly.
What’s the mission of your museum?
The mission of the Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications is to promote the history of telecommunications and to encourage public understanding of its historical significance. The museum is part of the Telecommunications History Group, Inc, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
What is the Telecommunications History Group?
The mission of The Telecommunications History Group (THG) is to preserve and publicize the heritage of the telecommunications industry in the United States. The Telecommunications History Group operates a museum and archive in Denver, Colorado in addition to the Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications in Seattle, Washington. For more information, visit the THG web site at http://www.telcomhistory.org.
How do I join THG and what are benefits of membership?
A donation to the THG helps preserve the telecom industry’s long proud history of service. Membership includes a one-year subscription to the Dial-Log newsletter and free admission to the Museum of Communications. For more information, see http://www.telcomhistory.org/membership.shtml
Who was Herbert Warrick?
Herbert H. Warrick Jr. (1923–2012) was a former director of Network Engineering for Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone and the man behind the creation of our museum. Herb (as he was known to museum volunteers) supported the museum generously and made it possible to assemble much of our current collection, including the large electromechanical telephone switches. Herb was also ably assisted by longtime museum curator Don Ostrand. Don was a fixture at the museum for more than 25 years (doing just about everything it seemed) until his death in early 2014.
How did you get started?
The Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications was established in Seattle in 1986 as the Vintage Telephone Equipment Museum and first opened for tours in 1988. Originally conceived as one of three such museums, the Seattle museum was the only museum to survive past the initial planning stage.
The man behind the museum was Herb Warrick (Director of Network Engineering for the Pacific Northwest Bell Telephone Company) who tirelessly promoted and supported its establishment. From the start, museum exhibits were built and maintained by long-service and retired Pacific Northwest Bell employees (mostly members of the Charles B. Hopkins No. 30 Telephone Pioneers of America, a nonprofit fraternal organization made up of long-service and retired telephone company employees). As the museum grew, other interested volunteers joined and continued the initial efforts. In more recent years, additional volunteers (many—but not all—with experience in related technical fields, such as electronics and computing) have joined our volunteer staff.
In 2003, the museum was renamed The Museum of Communications and changed its association with the Telephone Pioneers to become part of the Telecommunications History Group, a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation (which operates an extensive telecommunications research archive in Denver, Colorado). In June 2013, the THG board unanimously voted to change our museum name to The Herbert H. Warrick Jr. Museum of Communications to honor founder Herb Warrick, who died the previous year.
How do I volunteer?
We welcome all interested volunteers at the museum. Telecom experience is not required as there are many tasks at the museum that are not specifically technical. We do encourage you to visit multiple times to get a feel for what goes on at the museum before signing our volunteer agreement/volunteer guidelines document.
What is there to see at the museum?
Although there are other telephone museums in the United States, our museum is the only one to feature working Panel and Crossbar electromechanical central-office switches. We also have working Step-by-Step and Crossbar PBX equipment as well as antique telephones, switchboards, outside plant displays (poles, cables, splicing equipment, and tools) and a reference library.
Do you offer research services?
We do offer research services in association with our parent organization, The Telecommunications History Group. You may contact them directly at http://www.telcomhistory.org.
Do you offer internships?
Internships are possible in association with local educational institutions. Please contact the museum for more information.
Do you repair telephones?
In the past, we have offered limited diagnosis and repair of older telephones to those visiting the museum. This service may or may not be available depending on volunteer staffing. Cost would depend on the time required to do the repair and associated parts. This service is on a case-by-case basis and dependent on the visitor’s ability to bring the phone to the museum and to arrange for pickup after the phone is repaired. Repairs may take several weeks. The museum reserves the right to return the phone (without charge) if it is determined that a repair is not practical.
Do you sell antique telephones?
We have a limited number of working older/antique telephones available at our gift shop. We regret that we are unable to do any mail-order sales from our gift shop—all the more reason to come and visit us!
How do I wire old telephones?
Most wiring diagrams for old and antique telephones can be found in the online library of the Telephone Collectors International at www.telephonecollectors.info. We encourage you to join TCI as it is an excellent resource for this and other technical and historical information.
Can I use an old telephone in my home?
Most older telephones are completely backward-compatible with traditional land lines (either using twisted-pair copper to the central office or with telephone-company installed adapters). VOIP lines require an ATA (analog telephone adapter) to supply locally-generated dial-tone, “talk-battery,” and ringing current.