The Telephone Museum
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Closed until Jun 30, 2023

The Telephone Museum

Speciality Museums
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Temporarily closedClosed until Jun 30, 2023
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About
Real, working telephones and the switchboards and switching systems that powered the network are featured at this hands-on, interactive museum. You are encouraged to use wall-mounted, hand-crank magneto phones, dial phones, and manual switchboards. And you will see, hear and enjoy the electro-mechanical marvels that led the way to computers, cell phones, smart phones and other wonders of telecommunications.
Suggested duration
1-2 hours
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The area
Address
166 Winkumpaugh Rd, Ellsworth, ME 04605-3035
Detailed Reviews: Reviews order informed by descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as cleanliness, atmosphere, general tips and location information.
Popular mentions

5.0
18 reviews
Excellent
16
Very good
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Jim & Anthony
Washington DC, DC34 contributions
May 2022 • Family
We found The Telephone Museum online while visiting nearby Bar Harbor, ME. This was one of the highlights of our trip.

They showed us how telephones evolved - literally from a string and 2 tin cans through switchboards popularized Lily Tomlin’s Ernestine character, to stepper and crossbar systems. We were able to make calls within the museum and watch as the magic happened.

The switchboards and switches came from local hotels and communities. Fun fact: the last town switchboard in the country was in Bryant Pond, ME. It was replaced in October 1983.
Written May 20, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cindy
2 contributions
Sep 2022
We had such an interesting visit at this museum. It was a fascinating look back in time and the best thing was the hands-on demos that really helped give a sense of how things worked and evolved. The tour leaders’ enthusiasm and knowledge enhanced the whole experience.
Written October 5, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

David Z
NY407 contributions
May 2013 • Friends
It was a few years ago, But I am reviewing now because I was not a "Trip advisor" back then;

As you may have seen in other posts I have written, I am a Telephone collector, & I think all should check out these museums, & all should not take for granted the cell phone / Smart phone in their pocket.

You may have also noticed that I have pointed out that I have found Phone Museums ALL Over the country;

So back on Memorial Day 2010 I took a long weekend to Maine, I am not hear to review that, But I highly recommend that, Its a nice road trip if you are an "East Coast person"

Anyway I think it was Sunday Maybe Monday & I was headed home, & while diving down some pretty country street my friend said to me, Look, that sign says this way to a Phone Museum, so that was it we followed the signs & found our self's at a closed phone museum, But as often happens out of a no where a kind gentleman appeared, seems he is the caretaker or tour guide or all of the above, LOL
he was more then happy to give us a tour.
& I was more then happy to look listen,

Ever since I was there they send me news letters in the mail.

Its not a museum you will spend a lot of time in but its a nice museum & if you are near by you should for sure check it out.
Written November 6, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Cristina H
Shrewsbury, Massachusetts, United States18 contributions
Aug 2015 • Family
The guide not only showed us how the telephone worked in each decade of the 20th century he let us try it! There were phones all over the building that would ring when you called from the other phone. Different phones went through different switchboards depending on the decade that was being demonstrated. Truly an amazing collection of working phones and a guide full of interesting tales to tell! If you can't get there on Saturday call, they will gladly meet you there, you will NOT regret it.
Written August 10, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

John B
Milford, CT14 contributions
Aug 2017 • Family
If you are into how things work or have read "Exploding the Phone" or are interested in "phone hacking", this is the place for you!

This is a guided hands on museum. You start with the very basics of how the old phones made by Alexander Graham Bell work and work your way through manual operator switchboards, dial phones, the Strowger switch, PBX systems to the #3 and #5 Crossbar switches. Find out how calls were traced through these systems and how they had been hacked.

All through the experience, you will be making the calls, using the switchboards, hacking the system, and watching how it all works. Your tour guides are all experts who were involved in wiring and maintaining these systems. There is nothing close to this on the east coast!
Written August 13, 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Elizabeth S
1 contribution
Sep 2022 • Family
Wonderful experience! Loved the tour, and learning about the old telephones and how they worked! A must do in Ellsworth area!
Written September 18, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jenny s
1 contribution
Sep 2022 • Family
Very cool little place with a lot of history and knowledge to be shared. Loved the hands on interactions with the phones and switchboards!
Written September 17, 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Shandong
Avon, CT36 contributions
Aug 2019
Who knew? Fascinating information about how our telephones worked years ago. They actually have an old telephone exchange and you can watch the call click through it.
Written September 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

jevans0005
Tarpon Springs, FL9 contributions
Aug 2019 • Couples
We were part of a small group with a guide who explained so many of the exhibits and how they worked. You were invited to take part in the demonstrations of how early phone calls were made. We learned so much about how the telephone systems we use daily evolved. Definitely would recommend for everyone.
Written August 4, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Experience597928
2 contributions
Jul 2019 • Family
This place is a gem for anyone who is interested in the history of communication. With hands on demonstrations of A.G. Bell’s first telephone, the first magneto switchboards and the switching relay station, our seven-year-old stayed interested in everything on display for about two hours. It’s too bad the Museum is open only on Saturdays.
Written July 23, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.
We are glad that you had a great time. Just to note, we are open for tours by appointment and by chance on other days of the week. We are working hard to recruit additional volunteers to allow the museum to be open on more days of the week. Thanks for coming.
Written August 5, 2019
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.

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The Telephone Museum (Ellsworth) - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go

Frequently Asked Questions about The Telephone Museum

The Telephone Museum is open:
  • Sat - Sat 10:00 AM - 4:00 PM