Dwight Heasty passed away on March 26. His contributions to the National Capital Radio & Television Museum are in a category by themselves. Dwight volunteered to help about the time the Museum opened its doors in 1999. He served on the board of directors and was the Museum’s volunteer coordinator from 1999 through 2006. Furthermore, he was instrumental in creating innovative interactive exhibit devices for Museum visitors that continue in use today. Dwight could make just about anything mechanical or electrical that anyone could envision. A working exact replica of a Marconi magnetic detector, an elaborate Winshurst static generator, a scanning disc television receiver, and even re-creations of 1900-era laboratory tables are just a few examples of splendid devices that help the Museum tell the story of the development of radio and television. Dwight paid special attention to making devices that children could try out and enjoy. His Jacobs ladder is still a favorite of the kids who visit.
Dwight was a skilled radio engineer. An expert in electromagnetic compatibility, he spent much of his career with RCA, and always had a love for RCA’s “Nipper” dogs. The beautiful Nipper stained glass window at the Museum is yet another example of his skill at making things, and the several donated Nippers placed throughout the Museum remind us daily of Dwight.
As you walk through the Museum and read the artifact labels, you cannot help but notice that many of the finest items in the collection were donated by Dwight. A gentle, friendly, and extremely knowledgeable man, those who had the pleasure of knowing and working with Dwight are richer for that experience. A docent who joined the Museum recently said, “I never met the man, but I feel I knew him because of the displays I see every time I am at the museum.” A bronze plaque on the wall says “With gratitude to Dwight Heasty, developer of superb exhibits, volunteer coordinator, and board member.”
Our hearts go out to his family.