The highly anticipated DIDWW telephony museum is now open to the general public in the Northern European city of Siauliai, Lithuania. The region’s premiere telephony museum is located in a restored cultural heritage building, a former treasury house (built in 1907-1908), and the project was made possible with the generous support of Lina Zaboras, CEO of DIDWW.
Being passionate about telephone communications and guided by a strong vision to present the history of telephony to the general public, DIDWW has cherished the idea of a museum for many years, and this goal has finally come to fruition. Having assembled an extensive collection of exhibits and other artifacts related to the history of telephony in Lithuania and the world, DIDWW has opened this unique museum, featuring innovative, educational and historical exhibits.
The museum’s collection is comprised of more than 200 pieces, reflecting over 200 years of telephony history. The exposition features vintage and military phones, most of which are in perfect working order. For example, one of the oldest telephones is the Stromberg Carlson Type 896 deluxe compact wall telephone, which was designed for party line services. Furthermore, among some of the most interesting telephones on display are the 1950s ship wall-type telephones from Odessa, Ukraine, with a unique locking mechanism that holds the handset in place, the American Candlestick telephone from the early 1900s, and Russian military field telephones from WWII.
In addition, the museum presents phones from more recent times, ranging from the first rotary dial model to the latest dial pad phones, and from mobile phones to smartphones. IP phones, as well as the current generation of cloud softphones are also on display. The museum’s largest exhibit is the traditional British red telephone booth, which has been refurbished and is fully operational.
Lina Zaboras, CEO of DIDWW said, “The key reasons for opening this museum are to educate the society about the history of telephony and the current advances in this technology, to help the younger generation understand the value of technological progress, and to foster their enthusiasm for engineering. Using technology in our everyday lives is important, but it is even more crucial to understand how it evolved, and what historical processes lead us to the convenience that we take for granted today. We want to illustrate the long road of telephony all the way from the inventor Bell, through to the present day of cloud communications in an interesting and informative manner.”
The opening of the region’s first telephony museum was noted and well-received by the government, which subsequently granted DIDWW financing through a state-funded program for schoolchildren, the Cultural Passport Program, that is aimed at improving Lithuanian student’s access to cultural and educational projects and events.
Since its opening, the telephony museum has attracted much public interest and has gained visibility and popularity. With the facilities being restored and adapted to accommodate people with mobility disabilities, each and every one is welcome to enjoy the exhibits. The museum has already received more than 16000 visitors, including school children of all ages, students and senior citizens.