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February 2002

Release Date: February 4, 2002

Verizon Grant Funds Creation of Virtual Museum of Telephony

The Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection at Angelo State University has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation to create a "virtual museum of telephony" based upon San Angelo's E.F. Danner Museum of Telephony and targeted at school children.

The virtual museum will be accessible online and available on CD-ROM so children can follow the history and evolution of electronic communications in general and the telephone in particular. The Danner Museum, located in Officers' Quarters No. 4 at Fort Concho, is home to a number of records and many significant artifacts related to telephone communications history, including one of Alexander Graham Bell's original telephones.

Creation of the virtual museum will be directed by staff of ASU's West Texas Collection (WTC) and Information Technology Department's Multimedia Lab with assistance from the School of Education in developing appropriate curriculum guides.

Additional support is being provided by the Pioneer Club of San Angelo and the Friends of the Porter Henderson Library and West Texas Collection. ASU students from the History Department, from the School of Education and from the Computer Science Department will be involved in completing the project.

Suzanne Campbell, who heads the WTC, said the virtual museum will be geared for young people and will include a curriculum guide that teachers and parents can use to help school children understand the evolution of today's communication technologies.

The virtual museum will be structured around time periods of importance to the development of the telephone and will show the evolution of the telephone, the systems that made telephone technology possible and the companies that were instrumental in the mass production and marketing of the telephone.

The electronic museum will also include information about Fort Concho, where the Danner Museum is housed, and about telecommunications companies such as GTE and Verizon, both instrumental in the marketing and production of telephones. The online museum will include a timeline of significant events as well as interactive features, historic advertisements and photographs.

The project is expected to be completed by July.