Live From Bowie … It’s the National Capitol Radio & TV Museum

Vintage television advertisement

Coming up next: Imagine a future with a hover car in every garage and a color TV machine in every living room! (libertygrace0 via Flickr)

Bowie hasn’t gotten much love on this blog. Well, today we’re rectifying that.

Apartment renters in this Prince George’s County town have one of the more unique museums I’ve seen in the area. It’s called the National Capitol Radio & Television Museum.

Opened in 1999 and housed in Harmel House, the National Capitol Radio & Television Museum’s vision is “to foster the public’s understanding of the impact of electronic media.” And its mission is to collect, preserve “and interpret artifacts, programming, and publications to educate the public about the development and impact of electronic media”

[ Related: Bowie: No Shortage of Fun in Fast-Growing City ]

Quite an undertaking.

They do this by maintaining a research library and museum displays at multiple sites, preserving and researching radio and TV artifacts, publishing the “Dials & Channels” newsletter and monographs on radio/TV history, and by presenting seminars, talks and classes on radio/TV history. They also maintain a ham station (housed in a museum annex building) with vintage equipment.

Here is a list of museum exhibitions. They also install exhibits at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland, College Park campus.

View Larger Map National Capitol Radio & Television Museum
2608 Mitchellville Rd.
Bowie, Md. 20716

And yes, the site could use some work. On its Collections page, as of this writing, three of the categories are blank. But again, we’re not dealing with the Louvre here.

[ Related: Hidden History: Five D.C.-Area Museums You Won’t Find in the Tourist Guide ]

The National Capitol Radio & Television Museum is open Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. They offer docent-led tours that take about an hour, or you can just tour the small space yourself. The museum can be opened for school tours or groups by appointment. For details, check out their visitor information page.

Best of all, this thing is free. As such, they’re always looking for a few good volunteers to help out. For that matter, here is their museum store.

So the next time you hear your kid complaining that there’s nothing to do in Bowie (or the next time you find yourself saying the same thing on a Saturday afternoon), tune into the National Capitol Radio & Television Museum.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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