https://www.high-endrolex.com/11

https://www.high-endrolex.com/11

telephone museum Archives - Kidding Herself

The Museum of Telephone History Moscow is not phoning it in

Sometimes even Papa gets lost when trying to find an obscure Moscow courtyard.

Which is disconcerting enough, but what is particularly odd when you do finally locate it, this spot in the capital city of Russia, is being greeted by some bright red British telephone boxes. Just sitting there. All innocent-like.

British red telephone boxes outside the Museum of Telephone History Moscow

However, that’s what happens when you go to the Museum of Telephone History in Moscow.

On the one hand, so bizarre. On the other hand, another day, another museum of a Russian businessman’s personal collection. Vitaly Ezopov, CEO of Mastertel, a telecommunications company big in St Petersburg and Moscow, and sponsor of the Moscow Telephone Museum project, in fact.

Mama didn’t know the Museum of Telephone History’s Moscow branch was only two years old and a private enterprise before we arrived, which is one reason why she let me stay at home. She wasn’t sure quite how much fun I would have staring at some dusty, out of date technology, dead inside a glass case, which was how she conceived it was going to be before she, Papa and my Wired Up Big Brother went along.

Bust of Edison and a display of his telephone equipment at the Museum of Telephone History Moscow

This may have been a mistake.

It turns out that Moscow’s Museum of Telephone History knows that a large number of its audience is suspicious of tales of not being reachable by phone beyond the length of a wire that disappears into a wall, and wonders why someone would bother to call, anyway, when they could just WhatsApp instead.

(Please don’t write in and tell Mama that actually, all the cool kids are now not even using words and are communicating via the medium of interpretive TikTok clips, and even that is due to be old hat in 5…4…3…2…1. She is aware. She is just determined to remain behind the curve).

The Museum of Telephone History also understands that when it comes to technology, even moribund technology, what everyone actually wants to do with it is have a go.

So their tours are very much built around explaining to the next generation the evolution of mechanical communication, and the museum is not afraid to get out the plastic cups attached by string to help it do so. Or teach everyone a bit of Morse code so they can laboriously spell their name in telegraph speak. And even send their mobile phones though a pneumatic tube for the sheer exotic hell of it.

Shhhpoooooooooook! Ppphhhhhhoooooop. Cooooooooooooool.

Many of the prettier, more historic or celebrity connected phones are locked away from questing hands, of course. But it’s a pretty eclectic mix of the aesthetically interesting, such as this rather elegant model.

Antique telephone shaped as a lyre

And then there is the curious.

The sinister black phone with only one number, for example.

Single number black telephone at the Museum of Telephone History Moscow

Observe the British class system at work via the telephone labeled with the rooms of a huge stately home.

White telephone from a stately home for summoning staff with a photo of Winston Churchill

And an early payphone.

Early payphones, black candlestick model with a box to take coins on the side in a case with other vintage phones

It also has a lot of fan girl appeal. Phones used by ABBA!

A photo of ABBA holding telephones, and the same model telephone at the Museum of Telephone History Moscow

Yuri Gagarin!

White freestanding Ericsson phone handset used by Gagarin in a glass case. at the Museum of Telephone History Moscow.

Gorbachov!

An early mobile phone with a photo of Gorbachov behind it at the Museum of Telephone History Moscow

And look! An early example of IKEA mentality with a put-it-together-yourself phone kit!

A box with bits of an old fashioned telephone in that you were supposed to assemble yourself.

But you also get to play with the phones on the walls during the tour of the Museum of Telephone History Moscow, while the guide demonstrates how you stand (with your elbow helpfully propped up on the special elbow rest). How you actually place a call. How the bell summons you. How lots of bells summon you. Ooooh, what does this one sound like? Ahem.

Very early telephones on a wall at the Museum of Telephone History in Moscow

They also demonstrate how switchboards worked.

Two early telephone switchboards in front of a photograph of women operating them at the Museum of Telephone History in Moscow

And so on.

Gzhel porcelain figure of a lying soldier and communications equipment

Mama particularly enjoyed the exhibit which reproduces not just the feel of different dials but also the noise they made. Mama and Papa, in fact, had a bit of a cross cultural exchange as they tracked down the sounds of their respective yoof at the opposite ends of Europe. Ah, bless.

Telephone dials mounted on the back of a display case for visitors to touch and operate

Anyway. Let’s just say it was a lot more interactive and a lot more interesting than Mama was expecting.

You don’t have to go on a tour (although as you can see Mama recommends it, assuming you speak Russian). There is an audio guide provided via Q codes too (how modern, says Mama, who is determined to show her age today). Possibly in English. Possibly even in other languages. The museum seems keen on French. The have souvenirs in French!

Lots of old telephones hanging on a wall.

And!

The Museum of Telephone History is yet another museum tantalising Mama with the seductive smell of coffee from the cafe area in the corner!

[Actually Mama has just realised we haven’t gotten around to writing about the first one that did that yet. Oooops. Watch this space. *Waggles eyebrows mysteriously.* Although if y’all just followed me on Twitter you would already know.]

The Museum of Telephone History, then, is a small but well appointed museum, and well worth a drop in for Moscow residents, telephone enthusiasts or people who need to explain why we say ‘dial’ a number to their kids. Recommended.

More information

The Museum of Telephone History Moscow’s website (in English).

This is what the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has to say about mysteries of the telephone explained.

Address: 19 bld. 2, Sadovaya-Kudrinskaya St., Moscow, 123001, Russia

Opening: Tuesday – Sunday, 10am to 6pm (on Thursdays it opens at 12 noon). Closed Mondays.

Admission: Adults – 200 roubles, kids – 100 roubles. Excursions 1000 – 3000 roubles.

Getting there: The nearest metro stations are Mayakovskaya (green line) and Barrikadnaya/ Krasnopreskinskaya (purple and brown lines). There is a map on the website, which Mama suggests you look at and actually follow. Ahem.

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