The methods we use to communicate with one another have come a long way from Alexander Graham Bell saying in 1876, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want to see you.”
The Marquette Regional History Center is about to open an exhibit dealing with how telephone technology has changed over the years. It’s called “Ma Bell”, after the common nickname for the Bell telephone system monopoly before it was dissolved in 1984.
“It looks both from the perspective of those of us who use the telephone, which is all of us in some way, shape or form, as well as people who’ve worked for Michigan Bell over the years,” Marquette Regional History Center curator Jo DeYoung said. “There was a woman who worked at the Marquette exchange in the ’40s, and I spoke with her. I spoke with a woman who was a lineman back in the ’80s, and I also spoke with someone in the engineering department. All those people shared their experiences, their photographs, as well as their collections and things that they had.”
Some of the items in the exhibit also come from the History Center’s own permanent collection. Many models of older phones are featured, and when they were still in use, customers didn’t own them. Ma Bell did, and it leased them to its customers.
The “Ma Bell” exhibit opens tomorrow at the History Center, and it’ll be on display through April 12th.