National Electronics Museum - History of The Museum

History of The Museum

The National Electronics museum was created by Westinghouse employees. Robert L. Dwight, who worked for the Westinghouse Defense and Electronics Systems Center located in Baltimore, MD, jump-started the current collection in 1973 by conducting a "Family Day" to display his colleagues' work while involving their families. Titled “Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow”, the exhibit showed examples of past and present Westinghouse work to represent the company's progress through the eras.

Dwight then decided to pursue more radar systems and other electronics for viewing. His first mission, taken on with the help of Jack Sun, a former U.S. Air Force officer and Westinghouse employee, was to acquire the BOMARC missile radar from the Department of Defense. This missile housed the first airborne pulse-doppler radar, AN/DPN-53. However, in order to gain access to the radar they had to be classified as a non-profit museum.

After gaining advice and paperwork from Westinghouse lawyer, Butch Gregory, they founded the National Electronics Museum in 1980.

Finances and storage space were handled by Westinghouse, and in 1983 a 190 m² (2,000sq-ft) portion of space was devoted to the museum at the Airport Square III. Then, in 1986 the space was extended to 370 m² (4,000sq-ft). Formerly run by volunteers, the museum hired its first professional employee in 1992 when it was relocated to Friendship square.

In 1996, Northrop Grumman bought Westinghouse and continued support for museum efforts. The museum closed its doors temporarily when it underwent construction in 1999 and reopened with over 2000 m² (22,000sq-ft) of space. This space included a conference room, event hall, gallery, and a climate-controlled warehouse.

The museum offers education programs such as YESS (Young Engineers and Scientists) and the annual Robot Fest (held annually on the last weekend of April), as well as the Robert L. Dwight scholarship. Donations and grants are accepted from foundations and engineering societies. Board members include former Westinghouse employees and Northrop Grumman associates. Other public foundations such as Anne Arundel County Public Schools, Camegie Institute, American Alliance of Museums, the University of Maryland - Baltimore County, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, Allied Signal, and Hertzbach & Company support the museum. Over 30 volunteers donate over 5,000 hours of their time each year.

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