Thursday, December 05, 2013

The Sarnoff Collection and The Sarnoff Collection Online

The Sarnoff Collection is named in honor of David Sarnoff, chairman of the Radio Corporation of America (RCA), founder of the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), and internationally renowned pioneer in radio and television. It comprises over 6,000 artifacts (among other items--papers, photographs, etc.) that document major developments in communication and electronics in the 20th century. First housed at RCA's central research lab in Princeton, NJ, it has since moved to The College of New Jersey (artifacts) and to the Hagley Library in Wilmington, Delaware (other archival holdings). 

The College of New Jersey has recently opened a long-term exhibit called "Innovations That Changed the World," which traces the history of telecommunications from the invention of radio to the information age. The exhibition, which includes over 80 objects of telecommunication and electronics, is divided into nine media sections--radio, phonograph, black and white TV, color TV, electron microscopy, computing, integrated circuits, home video, and flat panel displays. Visitors are provided with social and historical context relating to these artifacts in addition to scientific and engineering principles.

If you can't get to visit in person you can do a lot virtually with The Sarnoff Collection Online. While it doesn't contain the complete holdings, over 1000 artifacts have been cataloged, photographed and reside in the site's fully searchable database.

Pictured above is a 256-Bit Early Computer Memory Grid (1950) which reminds me from this distance of a grade school potholder project. Objects deceive, digital objects deceive even more I guess!

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