Museum of Broadcast Communications

A good museum in Chicago that often flies under the radar is the Museum of Broadcast Communications. It covers the history of radio and TV throughout the years and has got some excellent displays that bring back a lot of memories.

Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Broadcast Communications

 

National Radio Hall of Fame

The first floor of the museum is the National Radio Hall of Fame, with several plaques honoring inductees that have made their mark on the radio. There is also an AP news ticker with the original feed announcing the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

National Radio Hall of Fame at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

National Radio Hall of Fame

JFK AP News Ticker at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

JFK AP News Ticker

 

Second Floor

The second floor and main part of the museum has displays about successful TV shows in just about every genre.

Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Museum of Broadcast Communications

There are some incredible artifacts from TV history, including the camera that televised the Kennedy-Nixon Debates in 1960 and may have swayed the election in Kennedy’s favor. Those listening to the debate on the radio thought that Richard Nixon had won while those watching on TV thought that Kennedy had won. Nixon looked ill and was sweating profusely while Kennedy looked young and energetic. It forever changed the future and importance of televised presidential debates.

Some other interesting artifacts include actual props from Jay Leno’s Tonight Show, costumes and props from The Bozo Show, and the set from Meet the Press used until the untimely death of long-time host Tim Russert in 2008.

Kennedy-Nixon Debate Camera at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Kennedy-Nixon Debate Camera

Jay Leno's Tonight Show props at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Jay Leno’s Tonight Show props

The Bozo Show at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

The Bozo Show

Tim Russert's Meet the Press set at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Tim Russert’s Meet the Press set

It’s also possible to schedule your very own personalized interview with the one and only Larry King (a video of him, of course). Or you can do your own newscast, complete with a real green screen for the weather. Reservations are required. Contact the museum for more info and scheduling.

Larry King Interview at Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Larry King Interview

Newscast Set at Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago, Illinois

Newscast Set

 

Visiting the Museum

The Museum of Broadcast Communications is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is US$12 for adults, US$10 for seniors, and US$6 for children aged 4 to 12 (as of August 2015). It’s located in the River North district.

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