Neill-Cochran House Museum Free Sundays return for a technological journey into the way the telephone began to change our lives in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Museum was one of the first private residences in Austin to have phone service–with the number 647, no less! Now that Austin has moved to ten-digit dialing, we look back at the science of the telephone and relive some of the early changes it brought about.
For younger visitors, we’ll have a station setting up good ol’ fashioned string-and-can phones for easy and hands-on fun.
For older visitors (of all ages!) We’ll have another station set up with a liquid transmitter, similar to the apparatus that Alexander Graham Bell used to demonstrate the principal of telephone voice communication. Powered by nothing more than a battery and a thimble full of vinegar, visitors can make and listen to simple voice communication over copper wire.
Finally, We’ll also set up a small telephone network with a switchboard so visitors can take turns making calls and working with an operator.
Sunday-Funday is the Neill-Cochran House Museum’s take on accessible, relevant, hands-on, and fun programming to introduce people of all ages to the museum and to the things that house museums do especially well in particular: society, culture, and the lived experiences of the generations before us. This year, we’re looking across a wide field of changes in technology and society–everything from making pomanders to pinhole cameras–as a way of thinking about how our shared and private lives have changed.