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October 9, 2015

Is the Museum of Television and Radio necessary anymore?

by Brad Trechak, posted Apr 22nd 2009 2:04PM
Paley Center for MediaVariety has an article about some renovations going on at the Paley Center for Media (formerly known as the Museum of Television and Radio, which is the name I still use for it) and it got me thinking. Is such a museum even necessary anymore?

Don't get me wrong, I absolutely think we should keep a historical broadcast record of television, radio and other types of media. But isn't that what the Internet is for? Wouldn't a virtual museum accomplish the same purpose online without the need for a brick-and-mortar presence?

Granted, the Paley Center does do live events, such as celebrity discussion panels, but those are done at a variety of places now such as Comic Con and various other news media outlets. I see those sort of events frequently listed at the New York Times building.

What amazed me most about the place the last time I visited was how archaic the viewing system was. It takes a lot of waiting time to view something that is most likely now available instantly on Hulu or YouTube. Hopefully the forthcoming renovation will update that system as well.

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Yeah, keep the museum, but I worked in the New York site for 2 1/2 years and the worse part was the crappy equipment used to view the shows. Haven't been there since 2004, but I sure hope they've renovated the NY museum!!!

April 30 2009 at 8:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

There's also the question of licensing -- the material in question is available to view in person at the museum, but there would be a hellacious struggle getting it all licensed for distribution on the web.

April 22 2009 at 4:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

if you're interested

There's the IMAX, cinerama & some of the earliest examples of all media stuff there & have regular talks from cool people (I saw Ray Harryhausen there) it's AWESOME (not been to the museum part for a year or so though)

April 22 2009 at 2:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to DarthPaul's comment

And now that's going on the bucket list for the next UK trip. Thanks!

April 22 2009 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

We have a National Media Museum in the UK (in my town of Bradford) & I'd say it was more important to have physical evidence of history than virtual.

What if the internet blew up, or became obsolete (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BBC_Domesday_Project as an example of that possibility)?

April 22 2009 at 2:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It is absolutely necessary. First, it's not just a museum of television and radio - they've widened their scope to cover all forms of media. Second, the vast media collection that they house on both coasts allows them to bring back little seen productions for rare public viewings. (For example, Richard Burton's Hamlet performed on Broadway - not that it made me like the play any more, but it was certainly cool to see on the big screen, hear his daughter's commentary just before the screening, plus, it highlighted a different form of filming that no longer exists.) Third, their annual Paleyfest and other sessions year-round allow the public a different view of the people we see on the little screen all the time...without having to wade through ComicCon crowds. And finally, the Paley Center really does much more than just have a library or let stalkers see their favorite stars up close and personal - judging by last night's Going Green in the Entertainment Industry, they've got a vested interest in more than just the entertainment community.

April 22 2009 at 2:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Eric J.

There are tons of things that are still only viewable at the museum, from what I understand. The fact that they have no real program to make those things available on the web is criminal.

April 22 2009 at 2:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's similar to the difference between going to a baseball game and watching it on television.

I say yes, absolutely the museum is still necessary.

April 22 2009 at 2:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Your question is as absurd as asking: Is there any reason to ever leave the house anymore?

April 22 2009 at 2:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment
John Howard

I agree. The question is just ridiculous. No museum is necessary. But as long as people go to it and other people are willing to keep it open, then why would anyone even care if it's necessary?

And the whole idea of a virtual museum is pretty silly. How exactly would that be any more "necessary?"

April 23 2009 at 9:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Malfoy Roark

Yea the museum is still necessary. Pictures can't do justice for most things. Seeing a picture of a 108 in plasma is cool. Seeing pictures of people standing by it shows scale. To stand in front of it yourself is another experience entirely. Same applies for almost anything else, cars, art, architecture, you can see pictures of them all but to witness the greats in each of these categories is an experience that should never be done away with because the internet makes it all 'accessible'.

April 22 2009 at 2:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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