Location: 25 W. 52 St., New York
The Museum of Television & Radio is a nonprofit organization founded by William S. Paley in 1975 to collect and preserve television and radio programs and to make these programs available to the public.
Since opening its doors in 1976, the Museum has expanded the collection to include more than 100,000 programs chosen for their artistic, cultural, and historical significance. The collection covers news, drama, public affairs programs, documentaries, the performing arts, children‘s programming, sports, comedy, and advertising.
Each year the Museum, using radio and television programs from the collection, organizes major exhibitions and screenings and listening series that focus on topics of social, historical, popular, or artistic interest. Seminars feature in-person discussions with writers, producers, directors, actors, and others involved with landmark programming. In addition, the Museum‘s comprehensive education program welcomes special interest groups and students from the elementary to the university level and encourages them to become critical thinkers by interpreting and analyzing radio and television programs.
Daily Screenings and Radio Presentations
From noon until closing time, the Museum presents a wide variety of programs from the collection in two screening rooms and two main theaters. Pick up a copy of the daily schedule at the front desk in the John E. Fetzer Lobby to see what‘s playing.
Also available in the lobby are complete schedules for exhibitions and screening series that have been organized by the Curatorial Department. Programming from current series and exhibitions is shown throughout the day, and the schedule will tell you what‘s ahead in the coming months.
The Ralph Guild Radio Listening Room (fifth floor), with its five preprogrammed listening series, offers a unique way for visitors to experience the radio collection. The Museum also offers live and taped radio broadcasts throughout the year, where stations from across the country come to the Ralph Guild Radio Studio to broadcast their shows. These events are usually open to the public.
Choosing a Program from the Collection
Access to information on the Museum‘s vast collection is literally at your fingertips in the Library. (You must make a reservation to use the Library at the lobby front desk when you arrive.) Using a Macintosh computer, you search the database for the television or radio program of your choice. A Visitor Services staff person will be glad to assist you at any time! When you find a program you want, you reserve it and then go to a console room, where you watch or listen to the program at a monitor with headphones.
Throughout the year, performers, critics, writers, directors, producers, and journalists come to the Museum to discuss topics ranging from the collaborative process behind programming to significant events in the media industry. The seminars include television and radio clips from the Museum‘s collection, and time for the audience members to ask questions.