airport museums

Vintage radios on display at SFO Airport

The “Mystic” Radio Bug and headset c. 1927 – courtesy SFO Museum

Radio – the invention – was a transformational technological triumph of the 20th century and today some of the earliest radios – the objects – are sought after collectible objects.

A new exhibition – On the Radio – from the SFO Museum at San Francisco International Airport brings together classic radio sets spanning sixty years of design, from crystal sets and luxury consoles, to stylish tabletop models and pocket-sized transistors.

Here are some highlights from the exhibition on view post-security on the Departures Level of SFO Terminal 3 through September 30, 2018. All photos courtesy SFO Museum.

Put on a podcast -or better yet, download an old-time radio classic – and take a tour.

Model 400–3 “Patriot” 1940

 

Model 21 “Minuette” 1932

X–11 Aladino 1949 

 

Regency TR–1 1954

 

Museum Monday: Games of Chance at SFO Airport

If, by chance, you’ve got some time before or between flights at San Francisco International Airport, you’re in luck.

That’s because the SFO Museum has just kicked off a new exhibition featuring more than sixty examples of early gambling devices, including the first automatic payout, three reel slot machine.

 

 

According to the exhibition notes, at one time San Francisco was a hotbed for these types of games:

In no part of the world did gambling take place so openly and on such a large scale than in San Francisco during the Victorian era. The city’s residents were largely pioneers or one generation removed from those who risked all to relocate and gamble on a new life in the West. San Franciscans wagered in nearly every possible manner, including horse races, sporting contests, card games, wheels-of-fortune, and impromptu barroom arguments on every conceivable subject. At the beginning of the twentieth century, more than 3,000 machines operated freely, enticing customers from busy sidewalks into the saloons and cigar stores that proliferated throughout San Francisco. “

 

 

The devices on display range from very early models that rely on simple clock mechanisms and a payout by the bartender to automatic slot machines with elaborate carved-wood, cast-iron, or painted-aluminum bodies – and each was designed to part a person with a small bit of their money.

 

 

All the objects in this exhibit (and all photos used here) are courtesy of Joe Welch American Antique Museum in San Bruno, California and will be on display at SFO Airport in Terminal 3, Boarding Area F through June 18, 2017.

You can see descriptions of the gambling devices featured here – and photos of others – in the SFO Museum’s online exhibition.  But I bet the exhibition is far more entertaining if you see it in person.

Speedy cars at PHL airport

PHL _REVolution Racing Sport Cars

A new exhibition Philadelphia International Airport will please fans of cars – and speed.

The REVolution of Racing Sports Cars features more than 100 photos celebrating the evolution of international racing sports cars from the early 1900s to 1970.

And anyone who wants to see the actual cars featured in the photos won’t have to go far:  they’re on display at the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum, located about a mile from the airport.

The museum is considered one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars and houses  many historically significant cars made by Alfa Romeo, Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Chevrolet, Ferrari, Ford, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche.

The REVolution of Racing Sports Car exhibition is on view through August 2016 in the corridor that connects Terminal E and F at Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).

Race on over…