Exhibit celebrates broadcast history

A life-sized replica of former President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivering one of his “Fireside Chats” is among the artifacts of broadcast history being displayed in an exhibit in the Marvin Center’s Colonnade Gallery.

The “Washington’s Broadcast Legacy” exhibit, which opened Monday, cements a years-long collaboration between the Radio History Society and the GW School of Media and Public Affairs.

“This is a nice partnership,” said Mike Freedman, GW’s director of public affairs. “We have been working with RHS for three years, since they brought their exhibit here in 1995.”

The new relationship will provide students access to RHS collections of historical documents and research material in Gelman Library and on the Internet, Freedman said.

“This exhibit is designed to appeal to students,” said Ken Melgren of RHS. “A lot of thought was put into this display.”

RHS donated most of the artifacts on display, which include television and radio sets, microphones and broadcasting equipment. Other pieces were borrowed from museums, television and radio stations, and private contributors, Melgren said.

The display also includes tributes to historical radio figures, and information on local radio and television stations.

Among the historical paraphernalia are one of the oldest scanning disk television sets, developed in Silver Spring, Md. in the 1920s, and the Ronald McDonald costume created and worn by Willard Scott.

“This exhibit provides enrichment for GW students, as well as the beginning of a permanent archive for the history of broadcasting in Washington,” Freedman said. “We can better understand where we are going if there’s a good understanding of where we’ve been.”

GW will host events including a live radio show and guest speakers as part of the collaboration between RHS and GW, Freedman said.

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