Historical Electronics Museum (HEM) History

The idea for the Historical Electronics Museum was conceived in 1973, when Robert Dwight, an employee with the Westinghouse Defense and Electronics Systems Center in Baltimore, Maryland, created a radar display titled Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, for the companyís Family Day. The display showcased hardware from the past, present and future.  One particular employee, there with his family, was excited to see the AERO-13, an airborne radar which he had helped design 20 years before.  Hearing the flood of memories from this employee gave Mr. Dwight the idea to for a museum to collect, save and preserve selected hardware developed by the electronics industry.

The next step:

Wishing to actively acquire more radar hardware and other electronics equipment to use for display, Mr. Dwight enlisted the help of fellow Westinghouse employees.  It was soon apparent that it would be extremely difficult to obtain objects without the status of a legally constituted non-profit corporation. In 1980 the Historical Electronics Museum was incorporated in the State of Maryland as a non-profit museum.

Westinghouse provided financial support and storage space. In 1983 the Historical Electronics Museum was located in Airport Square III where roughly 2,000 square feet was dedicated to museum displays and office space.  In 1986, this space expanded to nearly 4,000 square feet.
At Friendship Square:

In 1992, the museum moved down the street to its present location in Friendship Square. A result of the move was a major exhibit, office, library and storage expansion to 11,000 square feet.  In 1996, an educational focus was added to the museumís mission with the goal of creating a new educational gallery. 

Plans for expanding within the current location were developed in 1998 and in 1999 the museum was closed for four months while under construction.  In September 1999, the doors were opened again to reveal a doubling in size (22,000 square feet), including a new events and meeting space, Pioneer Hall. The hall is nearly 4,000 square feet and is dedicated to the provision of meeting/lecture space.

The Historical Electronics Museum is organized into ten related exhibit galleries (click here for an Adobe pdf showing the gallery layout)::

1. Fundamentals of Electricity and Electronics
2. Communications
3. Radar, World War II
4. Radar, Cold War
5. Radar, Post Cold War
6. Electronic Counter Measures
7. Underseas
8. Rotating Displays
9. Electro-Optical
10. Space

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