Historical Hi-Fi: The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting
By James Grahame
The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting might be one of the best kept retrogeek secrets in Minneapolis. The facility offers over 12,000 square feet of antique radios, televisions, and broadcast equipment.
The collection started almost by accident in 1946, when electronics instructor Joe Pavek rescued a vintage radio rather than allowing his students to dismember it. Pavek eventually started a hardware supply business. He traveled frequently, and made it a habit to seek out vintage gear wherever he went.
The collection was initially housed at his business, but grew to the point where he considered putting it up for auction in 1984. Luckily, Medtronic founder Earl Bakken (inventor of the wearable pacemaker) stepped in and the museum opened as a non-profit organization in late 1988.
"Highlights include a working 1912 rotary spark-gap transmitter, similar to the one used aboard the Titanic, crystal radios of the early Twenties, a chronologically ordered collection of vacuum tubes (including several of the original deForest Audions), and one of the most extensive treasuries of radio literature ever assembled.
Other attractions include the Charles Bradley Collection, representing more than sixty radio manufacturers from the Twin Cities area, and the Jack Mullin Collection, documenting one hundred twenty-five years of audio recording technology."
If you're on the lookout for a Christmas gift for a vintage radio buff, pick up a copy of the museum's full-color 2009 calendar for $12.95.