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July 30, 2008

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Ham Radio Guy

I love visiting the Smithsonian any chance I get. As an avid long time amateur radio operator, I like to see that this link in our communications time line preserved. Actually, I think that Ham Radio communication and its interest is starting to expand again. Heaven forbid, but if we loose our satellite communications for some reason, say a CME, ham radio may become more popular than ever.

Nick, pilot jobs advisor

I was also a youngster when I had my first visit to the Smithsonian and I can truly say that this experience changed my life, causing me to want to become my current profession, a pilot. Just this year I returned and immediately noticed the changes. I hope that progress continues so out future generations can be inspired as well.

Brent D. Glass

The Smithsonian Institution’s HAM radio station, NN3SI, ceased to operate from the National Museum of American History (NMAH) at the end of July 2008 after more than 32 years of operation. It was originally located in the 1976 Bicentennial exhibition, “A Nation of Nations” and was expected to be on display for a year.

The museum has been undergoing a renovation of the building’s infrastructure and interior for some time. The renovation has left NMAH with no appropriate exhibition to incorporate the NN3SI station. Various alternate locations throughout the Institution were considered, including the National Air and Space Museum's Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center, but no suitable space could be determined. The station’s license will remain in effect for several years should an appropriate exhibition area be located elsewhere at the Smithsonian.

Clearly, HAM radio is an important link in the history of communications and we are proud to have been able to host the station here for more than a quarter century. The museum is grateful to the many dedicated volunteers who kept the station going for such a long time as a living exhibition to our millions of visitors.

I understand that the station had many friends who are sad to see it go away. As a museum that is home to more than 3 million objects but has only limited space to display them, we often have to make some difficult decisions. All the objects in our collections are important and many of them are great favorites with the public. The curatorial staff and I try to build exhibitions and displays that tell stories and that help us understand history and what it means to be an American. Being able to choose from such a rich and broad collection of artifacts is a rare opportunity but it means that others have to go off rotation.

We invite you to visit us beginning Nov. 21 to see our new architecture along with many new displays and exhibitions during our opening year and beyond.

-Brent D. Glass, Director

Rick Curtis

I just heard that the Amateur Radio Station at the Museum of American History will not continue operation after the new remodel project. Amateur radio has, since the early days of experimentation, given America just as much as the Wright Brothers and others who developed airplanes. I'd just as soon see the Wright Brothers airplane retired from its display, as to see the amateur radio station tossed by the wayside....... There must be some place to house the display, and a healthy chunk of history that goes along with it. My understanding is that the AR display was part of another communications display that will be dismantled. AR is a stand alone milestone in the history of America and the world, and it deserves its place in the museum for all who visit to see. Sincerely, Rick Curtis WA6JKH

Mike Romano

I am personally very excited about the reopening of the American History Museum! Just a few years ago I had taken my young daughter to see Fort McHenry and was excited to bring the story of events there to real life. To my sorrow the museum had just closed at the time and I was unable to complete the story for her. I am looking forward to finally being able to show her the actual flag that had flown over Fort McHenry during the War of 1812 when the British Military made and was thwarted on their last attempt to take over.

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