Museum Displays

Open every Saturday and Sunday 1 – 4 PM

Volunteer docents are on hand for a guided tour or you may self-guide.

You can see:

  1. Voice of America Bethany Station (Including why the station began through VOA's activities today)
  2. Collins Radio 250 kW Broadcast Transmitter (Walk inside this massive shortwave transmitter)
  3. Radio Technology Room  (Learn how wireless began including technology evolution over time)
  4. Powel Crosley Jr. Room  (See Crosley's many innovative products ahead of their time)
  5. Gray History of Wireless Rooms (From early spark transmitters to the Golden age of Radio into a large Drake collection)
  6. Tri-State Media Heritage Room  (Early Cincinnati Radio & TV including Ruth Lyons and Larry Smith's Puppets)
  7. West Chester Amateur Radio Association (A complete Ham station where you can see first-hand how shortwave radio works)
  8. Radio Lab (Learn How Radio works) 

 Voice of America Exhibit

The question of why the Voice of America Bethany Relay Station was constructed on a hilltop outside of Cincinnati can be answered in two and one half - Powel Crosley Jr.

When President Roosevelt began to plan for high power radio stations able to reach all parts of the world with information about the United States, he turned to Crosley and his corps of pioneering engineers to make it happen. Crosley had already constructed and operated WLW at 500,000 watts making it the most powerful in the world.  He also operated WLWO, a high-power shortwave station, beaming programming to Europe.

The engineering team was up to the task and built from scratch six 250,000-watt transmitters and 27 antenna arrays capable of reaching millions of listeners in Europe, North and South Africa and South America.

The level of technology innovation that took place in this building beginning in 1943 is as groundbreaking as any now being accomplished in Silicon Valley.

When you first arrive don't miss watching our award winning documentary video.  It summarizes the history and importance of the Voice of America and, more specifically, the Bethany Relay Station, home of the Museum. 

The six transmitters were connected to dozens of large antennas spread across a one square mile area.  Some of the concrete tower bases can still be seen in the adjacent Butler County Metro Park located at the rear of the Museum.  Many people remember seeing these towers as they drove on Interstate 75.

Learn about the real reason for the creation of Voice of America

 

1966 Control Room

Learn why Special English was created

Learn how Government Broadcast are managed

Learn about the need for this special ship

 A complete history hallway with annotated pictures

and video for the US Coast Guard Cutter Currier

 

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Collins Radio 250 kW Broadcast Transmitter

 The facility once boasted six of the most powerful radio transmitters on earth.  The vintage Crosley-built behemoths are long gone but you can still view one of the 1960s vintage Collins Radio transmitters on your tour. Take a walk inside the transmitter.

 

 

 

 You can still see up close the Antenna Switching Matrix at the rear of the museum building.  

These switches allowed the various antenna arrays to target broadcast to specific areas

in Europe, North Africa and South America.  Be sure to walk out to see it up close when you visit.

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Powel Crosley Jr. Room

 Crosley was a prolific inventor and innovator and his interests went well beyond radio. He manufactured an extensive line of home appliances including the iconic Shelvador refrigerator and ranges, washing machines and even complete kitchen cabinet installations.

 One of the hallmarks of Crosley’s appliance product line was his keen sensitivity to the consumer both pre and post-Depression. He pioneered the establishment of a network of independent local dealers as the best way to take his products to market. He insisted that these dealers provide the consumer high quality parts, service, and satisfaction. His products were often less expensive than other name brands but were backed by Crosley's money back guarantee. This became a precedent for some of today’s sales practices.

 Powel Crosley Jr. Exhibit

Learn about a no electricity refrigerator

 See up close many of the innovative Crosley products

America's first Sports Car (Hot Shot)

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Radio Technology Room

Learn how wireless began including technology evolution over time

 

Review the many Novelty radios

Learn why vacuum tubes contributed to the Golden Age of Radio

View many of the "Machine Age" Art Deco radio designs

 See up close how a Marconi spark transmitter is assembled

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Gray History of Wireless Exhibits

 See displays of early spark transmitters to the Golden age of Radio into a large Drake collection

 

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 Tri-State Media Heritage Exhibit

 

See the collection of Larry Smith's Puppets

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West Chester Amateur Radio Association

 During your tour be sure to drop into the "Ham Shack."  Members of the West Chester Amateur Radio Association are on hand to demonstrate how shortwave radio works, much like the original broadcast from VOA Bethany Station. 

 

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Radio Lab

From Greeks to Geeks

Made possible in part by a grant from the Charles H. Dater Foundation

 

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There are three partner organizations making the Museum their home:

- West Chester Amateur Radio Association

 - Media Heritage

- The Gray History of Wireless Museum

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