Radio Days 'Theater of the Mind' Museum opens in Sutherlin

Dennis Wright at Radio Days 'Theater of the Mind' Museum in Sutherlin. The museum celebrates the history of radio. (Photo via Radio Days Museum)

SUTHERLIN, Ore. -- A new museum heralding the golden days of radio has opened in Sutherlin.

Located at 103 W. Central Ave. in historic downtown Sutherlin, Radio Days “Theater of the Mind” Museum features an extensive collection of radio premiums (decoder rings and other advertising ephemora), memorabilia and rare photographs from the 30s, 40s and 50s celebrating the classic tales of bravery and daring from radio’s greatest fictional and real life heroes, museum officials said in a news release.

“Their very names have magic - Captain Midnight, The Lone Ranger, The Shadow, Tom Mix, Tarzan, and many others,” says museum executive director Dennis Wright, an avid old-time radio historian, collector, and Sutherlin resident. According to the museum news release, he realized his dream of opening a museum dedicated to the early history of broadcasting in 2016.

Wright says the museum is “a way to introduce youngsters to the most marvelous theater there is: the imagination. At last, a fun, one-of-a-kind museum for your children, your neighbor’s children, and you."

But adventure isn’t the only genre represented - the museum houses radio programs and paraphernalia of comedic acts such as Hope and Crosby, Jack Benny, Amos and Andy and others.

Museum officials say the mission is to preserve, share, and document the heritage of the Golden Age of radio broadcasting.

Radio Days Museum offers a coffee corner and listening areas throughout the space.

The museum is free to the public and is all-volunteer. Financial support primarily comes from membership dues, gift shop revenue and donations.

Hours of operation are Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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