For more than 70 years, an iconic building has dominated the landscape on a plot of land located just north of Cincinnati in West Chester Township. For thousands of area residents, the Art Deco façade has been a landmark. More significant is that for many living in foreign lands around the globe it remains a source of inspiration. It was from this site that millions of people in thousands of foreign cities and hamlets learned about the United States. Our culture, values and dedication to freedom and the democratic process became bright beacons of hope and aspiration as the Voice of America beamed its broadcasts from this rural hill top in Ohio around the world.
Today that building is being transformed into an historical center that will not only explain the significance of what happened there in the past, but how technology, honesty and the creative spirit, the guiding principles of The Voice of America, are still relevant today in spreading truth and providing encouragement globally to those seeking information without political bias . The Museum will explain and celebrate the VOA mantra, “Tell the truth and let the world decide.” It will explain how the VOA transcended the shortwave broadcasts of the 1940s and 50’s and continues important services today in the digital era of iPads, iPhones and all things digital.
The National Voice of America Museum of Broadcasting will transform the former Bethany Station, a 30,000 sq. ft. building originally designed as the world’s most powerful radio transmission facilities into an educational resource for the region and the nation. Using a concept master plan developed by the acclaimed Jack Rouse and Associates, the Museum will incorporate state of the art displays and interactive experiences to relate the story of the Voice of America. Incorporating other related collections from Media Heritage and the Gray History of Wireless Museum, the new facility will have content of interest to a wide demographic segment and age groups.
The development will be phased over several years as support is generated and construction and program design work is completed. Phase One calls for the construction of an event, meeting and exhibit center at the Museum designed as a place to host meetings, lectures, and traveling displays. The 2400 sq. ft. multi-purpose room will have a new ADA compliant entrance and modifications will be made to the building allowing access to the main exhibit and meeting areas barrier-free. Two modern rest rooms will also be added.
Phase Two will modify the main transmitter room which once housed the six high power short wave transmitters. This area will be the main exhibition concourse. The space will be restored to the ambiance of the 1940’s, complete with the original second level observation platform located off the main lobby. The main exhibit space will feature an 8,000+ open area and another 5,000 sq. ft. of smaller display rooms. Archival and support offices will occupy the second floor of the main building. There will still be some 3000 sq. ft. of undeveloped space.
Funding is being sought for Phase One of the plan and requires an investment of $1 million.