KILGORE, TX (KLTV) - The old saying, "if only these walls could talk" could be changed in this Kilgore building to, "if only the items within these walls to could talk."
Kilgore's Texas Museum of Broadcasting and Communications spotlights the people and equipment of broadcast's golden age.
"Everybody has experienced the world through radio or TV. We've all been very influenced by what we see on TV or hear on radio."
Because of the influence of radio and television on our lives, Chuck Conrad, founder and executive director of the museum, has found that the museum connects with the general public just as much as it does with newscasters and communication technicians.
"We have a camera here that was there when Lee Harvey Oswald was shot."
The death of President John. F. Kennedy's assassin is one of the most important happenings of history, brought to us live through this camera on display.
But even if you consider Howdy Doody a historic part of your growing up, the museum contains a wide variety of programs and equipment historic in their own right.
"The telecruiser is probably the biggest draw because only 14 or 15 were ever made.
And with only two such telecruisers known to still exist, it joins the ranks of museum rarities.
The one I sought out the most is the one here that is one of the very first color cameras. The acquisition is almost as much fun and sometimes more fun than owning it."
Conrad, who has a background in radio and television and still operates radio stations, started out as a collector. But unlike collecting stamps or coins, space became a problem.
Conrad says when he realized he had over 50 TV cameras stacked in his garage, it was time to make new plans...and then he met Warren, who was as avid a collector as Conrad was.
"Some of it is Warren's private collection, some of it's mine and a whole ton of it has come in since we opened."
Even with the 16,000 square feet of room in the present museum, new displays are competing for space.
"Trucks just keep backing up to our door."
Trucks come from all parts of the country, leaving such items as an entire film editing station as well as 750 pounds of transmitter installations manuals.
With the importance of communication in our lives and with the avid collectors like Chuck Conrad, the Broadcast Museum will probably not remain a well-kept secret for long.