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September 2002

Release Date: September 25, 2002

Virtual Museum to Highlight Danner Collection, History of Telephone

The treasures of the E.H. Danner Museum of Telephony in San Angelo will be accessible from all over the world after the Angelo State University debut Wednesday, Oct. 2, of a website that offers a history of the telephone and provides a "virtual" look at the museum's artifacts, including one of Thomas Edison's first telephones.

The E.H. Danner Virtual Museum of Telephony will premier at 10 a.m. Wednesday in the Davidson Conference Center in the ASU Houston Harte University Center. The website traces telephone history using the artifacts and records of the Danner Museum, housed in Officers' Quarters No. 4 on the grounds of Fort Concho. The ceremony and the reception to follow are open free to the public as is a telephone display in the Dr. Ralph R. Chase West Texas Collection (WTC).

Created by the staff of ASU's WTC and the Multimedia Lab in the university's Information Technology Department, the virtual museum was funded by a $60,000 grant from the Verizon Foundation. Although targeted for school children in fourth through eighth grades, the virtual museum has something for anyone interested in telephones and communication technology. The virtual museum includes a decade-by-decade look at the evolution of telephone technology as well as profiles of important individuals and companies in the history of telephone communication.

Suzanne Campbell, head of the WTC and director of the project, said, "It seems fitting that the very technology we highlight in the virtual museum will today make it possible for people globally to access that history on the website."

Other key contributors in developing the website were Tanya L. Norris of the WTC and Purnell J. Curtis of the Multimedia Lab. They will be joined at the debut by several Verizon officials, including Steve Banta, group president-southwest and northwest regions, Robert Curtis, director of external affairs, and David Russell, regional vice president for external affairs, all of Irving; as well as, from San Angelo, Gray Mundell, vice president for customer operations, Robert Bates, area manager for customer operations, and Cindy Hensley, administrator.

In addition to its online accessibility, the virtual museum will also be made available to schools on CD-ROM and DVD. The virtual museum is 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 such as GTE that were instrumental in the mass production and marketing of the telephone as well as telecommunications conglomerates like Verizon that evolved over the years.

Support in addition to the Verizon grant was 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, the School of Education and the Computer Science Department assisted with the project.