Hello, Montréal! Bell's Historical Collections - Talking About the Evolution of Communications through Telephony!

An exhibition presented from February 17, 2017 to January 7, 2018

MONTRÉAL, Feb. 16, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - Pointe-à-Callière, the Montréal Archaeology and History Complex, in collaboration with Bell, is proud to present Hello, Montréal! Bell's Historical Collections, a lighthearted and entertaining exhibition that looks at the evolution of communications through the advances in telephony and the role telephony plays in our lives. The exhibition follows the development of this amazing device from its invention by Alexander Graham Bell in 1874 up to the digital communications revolution of today.

Pointe-à-Callière drew on Bell's rich private collections to create a fun-filled historical, technological and sociological portrait of telephony and its influence on how people – including Montréalers, of course – talk with each other and the whole world. The exhibition features over 250 items, photos, documents, musical excerpts and archival films to tell the fascinating story of this invention.

"For Montréal's 375th anniversary, we decided to unveil an exhibition looking at the development of telephony over more than 140 years, from a Montréal viewpoint. Technological innovations have shaped the way we communicate and contributed to our city's growth. Pointe-à-Callière is proud to retrace the development of telephony in such striking fashion, and we thank Bell most sincerely for making it possible with access to its invaluable private collection," says Francine Lelièvre, Executive Director of Pointe-à-Callière.

"Bell is delighted to partner with Pointe-à-Callière to celebrate Montréal 375 by showing how a company founded in this city in 1880 helped shape the landscape of modern communications all around the world," said Martine Turcotte, Bell's Vice Chair, Québec. "Charting the course of communications in Montréal from the first telegraph devices to the incredibly powerful mobile and broadband fibre networks of today, Pointe-à-Callière has created a compelling and highly entertaining examination of the heritage of our city and our company, and the continued opportunities for innovation and growth ahead."

140 years of progress
The exhibition takes visitors on a journey lasting more than 140 years, tracing the evolution of telephony. It begins with the birth of Alexander Graham Bell's brainchild and follows technological advances leading up a new way of interacting: the wired network. This was followed by a giant step, with the introduction of fibre optics. Visitors will also learn about the people who contributed to the development of telephony, particularly in Montréal.

The exhibition themes will examine the development of communications networks, mobile telephony and its influence on today's lifestyles, and the future of communications. Visitors will have fun seeing all this historyand they will also be encouraged to think about their own use of the telephone and its central role in their lives as they learn about how technological advances in telephony over the decades have changed the way we communicate.

Intriguing objects
The first artifact in this fabulous journey through time is the "ancestor" of the telephone: the telegraph. A variety of magnificent examples of technological innovation is presented, including the magneto switchboard used in a Montréal telephone exchange around 1895, as well as a battery switchboard from the early 1900s. Then came the rotary dial telephone and the pushbutton version. Does that sound familiar? And then there were all the different models. Who remembers the famous "Princess" phone designed for young women and launched in 1960? How about the "Vista 350" model, introduced in 1996, that displayed the caller's name?

Exhibition highlights also include the first telephone switchboard used by the city of Montréal's fire department, from 1884 to 1908;aA magneto telephone used at the Montreal Hunt Club, around 1880, and the first outdoor telephone booth, which appeared in 1944; the huge battery switchboard produced by the Northern Electric and Manufacturing Company in Montréal in the early 1900s, of striking size and complexity; and the Motorola DynaTAC series telephone, which appeared around 1985. The heavy and rather impractical first generation portable cell phone is a far cry from the modern, light and ultra-powerful devices we know today .

Fun things to do, too
While all our visitors are sure to learn lots from the exhibition, there's also a space for youngsters to have fun. For instance, they can find how they would measure up as a switchboard operator from the 1920s, connecting as many people as possible. They can check whether they've got what it takes to be a splicer, putting together the many wires to create a telephone connection. Or they can see how it feels to make a call on a rotary dial phone! Older visitors can admire the dozens of telephone models over the years and remember using them 20, 30, or 50 or more years ago.

Telephones in popular culture
The exhibition will also feature excerpts from soap operas and advertisements in which telephones play a key role, presented (of course!) in telephone booths. In a central space visitors will encounter an oversized telephone dial where they can listen to audio clips with telephone messages and musical excerpts relating to telephones. They include the amusing Le Téléfon by Nino Ferrer, performed by Patrick Zabé. Visitors can take selfies and text friends – with their cell phones, naturally – at a telephone switchboard.

A timeless machine
By the end of the exhibition, visitors will have had fun learning how telephony has skilfully evolved to make telephones more than a simple device that simplifies users' daily lives. In its many forms the telephone has become a wonderful timeless machine that now determines the whole pace of our daily lives and has revolutionized the world of communications. As they explore the different innovative steps that have made this means of communication such a success, they'll see how developments in telephony have had significant impacts on our lives at work, at home and in society.

Hello, Montréal! Bell's Historical Collections was produced by Pointe-à-Callière in partnership with Bell, drawing on Canada's largest collection of archives and heritage material in the telecommunications industry. The Museum also wishes to thank exhibition sponsors Hôtel InterContinental Montréal and La Presse. To mark the Museum's 25th anniversary, Pointe-à-Callière will be offering free admission to the exhibition from May 19 to June 20.

Pointe-à-Callière is subsidized by the City of Montréal.


SOURCE Pointe-à-Callière, Montreal Museum of Archaelogy and History

For further information: Media: Pointe-à-Callière, Marilyne Levesque, Director of communications and marketing, mlevesque@pacmusee.qc.ca, T. 514 872-9124 / C. 514 884-6351


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