R.I.P. Telephone Museum: 5 More Small Houston Museums To See

rotaryphones.jpg
Fotopedia user Dan Brady
Time to hang up on the Telephone Museum?
News broke last week that the Heights AT&T building that houses the little-known Telephone Museum had been sold, leaving the collection of communication history homeless as of December 1 of this year.

The 46-year-old Telephone Museum (full name: The Doc Porter Museum of Telephone History) posted a frantic message on their website:

The Doc Porter Museum of Telephone History is in trouble.

AT&T has put our building up for sale, and we have just discovered that no provisions have been put in place to move or house our vast collection.

We currently are located on the second floor of 1714 Ashland Street in Houston, Texas, in the historic Heights area.

This space houses our wonderful collection of telephones, switchboards, instruments, documentation, books, and all the other pieces of telephone history that has taken many years to compile.

Our collection is one of the last in the country. With the closing of the telephone museums in Dallas and others, we are the one of the last in Texas, and one of only a handful in the country.

Most everyone who visits our Museum is extremely surprised and delighted by our tremendous collection of telephone history.

We are in desperate need to relocate. Any ideas? Please contact us.

The Ashland building is the museum's third home since its birth in 1966. So what will happen to the museum's collection post-sale? Will it be sold piecemeal to greedy collectors a la the closing of in 2011?

If that's the future, the you only have three short months to see the Telephone Museum's collection, which includes switchboards, rotaries and more. While you're at it, we've compiled five other small Houston-area museums you should check out if you haven't yet.

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Flickr user soonerpa
5. Battleship Texas
The Battleship Texas, the nation's first battleship memorial museum (established in 1948) has been plagued this summer with a rash of leaks, at one point taking on 1,500 gallons a minute. It shouldn't be surprising -- this old girl is no spring chicken. The 100-year-old ship is also only one of six to have served in both World Wars.

Preservationists have for years wanted to build a dry dock for the vessel, but the problem is that there's no money. As long as the vessel remains in salt water, ship manager Andy Smith told the Houston Chronicle, it will be subject to leaks. The leaks from earlier this summer have been patched up, and the boat is open for tours again, but who knows when the next one might sprout?

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Flickr user photomajik
4. National Museum of Funeral History
Probably not everyone is as fascinated by death rituals and rites as I am, but I still think there is value to be had in a visit to the National Museum of Funeral History. After all, you may not be into Picasso or Remington, but death is something we all have in common. The museum's permanent exhibitions include a variety of oddly-ahaped coffins (including one shaped like a chicken), vintage hearses and an area dedicated to Dia de los Muertos. I'm especially interested in the exhibit on the history of embalming. What can I say? I'm a sucker for mummies.

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Flickr user mlsnp
3. The 1940 Air Terminal Museum
Houston doesn't tear down *all* of its historical buildings. Take the 1940 Air Terminal Museum for example. It's housed in a spectacularly gorgeous Art Deco building at what was once called the Houston Municipal Airport. You now it know as Hobby Airport. The building is in the process of a restoration, painstakingly documented on the museum's website. There are no planes here (well, expect for the ones flying commercially across the tarmac) and only the first floor is open, due to the indefinite restoration, but this museum is more about the good old days when people would actually dress up to travel. Get a guided tour for a better understanding of what the museum has to offer.


Location Info

Venue

Map

National Museum of Funeral History

415 Barren Springs, Houston, TX

Category: General

The 1940 Air Terminal Museum

8325 Travelair St., Houston, TX

Category: General

Battleship Texas

3523 Highway 134, La Porte, TX

Category: General

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