What is the Museum all about?
The Museum exhibits the listener and viewer side of both radio and television broadcasting over nearly a century, primarily receivers and related items. The Museum can be visited on your own, or you can take a free guided tour.
Where is the Museum located?
The Museum is located in Bowie, Maryland just off the junction of Routes 50 and 301, between Washington, D.C. and Annapolis, Md. Directions to the Museum.
Are there other things to see in the same area?
Absolutely—starting with the other Bowie museums.
When is the Museum open?
The Museum is open three days a week at present: Fridays from 9am to 4pm, and both Saturday and Sunday afternoons from 12pm to 4pm. In the event of a major holiday or extreme weather, the Museum may be closed, so please call ahead: (301) 390-1020.
Is the Museum near any public transit?
Unfortunately not . . . it really does require a car. We have free parking right next to the museum.
What does it cost to visit?
Visiting the museum is FREE. We welcome your donations.
Do you offer tours?
The Museum does offer tours. You may tour the museum on your own, or take an introductory tour with one of the docents who are always on duty during our regular hours (see above).
Can the Museum accommodate group visits?
Yes, but due to space and personnel limitations, please contact our office first at (301) 390-1020. We regularly provide tours to school groups and retirement communities.
Are the Museum’s exhibits accessible to the handicapped?
In part, yes. The Museum is located in a century-old farmhouse, and the second floor does require use of a stairway (there is no elevator), but the first floor galleries are fully accessible, and there is a virtual tour of what is on the second floor.
Can I hear old radio and watch old TV programs?
Absolutely—the Museum has large collections of both and you can hear or see them on vintage receivers. Here are lists of many of the radio programs and a list of TV shows in the Museum’s collections.
Do you have any special collections?
Yes, a number of them. If the topic interests you, for example, ask to see the “ham” radio receivers. The Museum also has a 1940s AM radio station transmitter that is now used for occasional low-power transmissions. Exhibits in the museum are always changing.
Is there a Museum shop?
Yes. The Museum has a small shop, but also offers items for sale on this website.
What’s for sale?
At the present time, the Museum offers two kinds of items—books about radio and television history and engineering (many long out of print), and thousands of vacuum tubes. The Museum also sells limited numbers of radio and television-related items. More information.
Who owns and operates the Museum?
The Museum is a public-private partnership. The City of Bowie owns the buildings and grounds, while the exhibits inside are created by the Museum staff and volunteers. The Museum is managed by a paid deputy director and many volunteers. The Museum is run by an independent Board of Directors.
How old is the Museum?
The Museum opened in June 1999.
Do you have exhibits elsewhere?
Absolutely! In addition to the Museum in Bowie, the Museum maintains and exhibit of early radio and television receivers on display at the Library of American Broadcasting at the University of Maryland.
Do you accept donations?
As with most museums, yes! The National Capital Radio & Television is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and welcomes donations. Because of limited storage space; however, please contact our curator if you would like to donate radio or television receivers or related equipment. We also have a list of items we are seeking for exhibit. The Museum also accepts financial and in-kind donations. Please contact the office at (301) 390-1020 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in in-kind items or financial support.
How can I help out?
In addition to donations (see previous question), the Museum welcomes those who would like to volunteer to help. While knowledge of some aspect of radio and television is hugely helpful, it’s not required. There are many potential roles—acting as a tour guide (docent), helping design and build exhibits, repairing old radios and televisions, and many other jobs that need doing. If you are interested, please contact the Museum.