An Introduction To The Museum Of Broadcast Communications
7 March 2019
Located at 360 North State Street, the Museum of Broadcast Communications is one of only three museums in the nation dedicated to broadcast history. Their mission is “to collect, preserve, and present historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educate, inform, and entertain the public through its archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications, and online access to its resources.” Bruce DuMont founded the museum in 1982, but it did not open its doors until 1987, originally located at the River City condominium complex.
Some of the notable exhibits you can find here include the door that Oprah walked through every day on the set of The Oprah Winfrey Show, elements of the set of Svengoolie (an iconic Chicago television program), plaques from recent National Radio Hall of Fame inductees, and memorabilia from the history of radio, including vintage radios. The museum is also home to working radio and television studios, allowing students and school groups to get real-world more exposure to the broadcasting world. In addition, the museum uses advances in technology to offer digital access to many of its archives.
Currently, the museum is home to “Saturday Night Live: The Experience,” a 12,000 sq ft exhibit exploring the 40-year history of the late-night television variety show. Originally debuting in New York City, Chicago was a natural second stop for the exhibit’s tour, given that many of the shows’ early actors and writers hail from the city. It’s spread over two floors of the museum and aims to give viewers a glimpse at the incredible amount of work it takes to build each show from the ground up.
The exhibit is structured like a week on the SNL set, with each room representing a different day of the week and showcasing a different stage of producing the show. Plenty of original memorabilia from the shows’ history is featured, including the couch from the “Wayne’s World” skit, the Superfans outfits, and even more recent pieces such as Melissa McCarthy’s “Easter Bunny/Sean Spicer” costume. The exhibit concludes with the Saturday room, which features a complete replica of Studio 8H, where Saturday Night Live is filmed. The show has called the museum home for the past 14 months and will end March 31.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is located less than two miles from 1000M, another cultural experience easily accessible using the building’s Personal Car and Driver service. Fans of comedy and broadcast history in general should seek to visit the museum for a rare opportunity to be immersed in radio and television history.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications is located at 360 North State Street, Chicago IL. They are open Tuesday-Thursday 10am-6pm, Friday-Saturday 10am-5pm and Sunday 12pm-5pm. They are closed on Mondays. Pricing for the Winter season including the SNL exhibit is $20 for general admission, $15 for Seniors, Students, Educators and Military. Visit www.museum.tv for more information on pricing and hours.