As a preview to its formal opening during the spring 2018 semester, the RCA Heritage Program Museum held a preliminary opening at their new location on the fifth floor of the Rowan University Campbell Library on Nov. 30.
The museum was originally established at Rowan University in September 2011 by Joe Pane, deputy director of the museum and a retired RCA executive. Prior to relocating, the RCA Heritage Program Museum was located on the third floor of the library. The move nearly doubled the size of the museum, from around 700 feet to over 1,500 feet.
“I worked for RCA starting in 1973 and retired from the subsequent companies that bought it out,” said Richard Reindl, assistant director of the RCA Heritage Program Museum.
Reindl explained how he used to work with the Pane during their time at RCA, and that their partnership made it easy to collaborate in this museum. The museum features over 6,000 artifacts that were donated to the museum. The oldest piece is a Victrola from 1909. At the event, Reindl played a record on the Victrola as part of a demonstration, showing off how loud the piece was and how it didn’t require any electricity.
Other pieces in the collections include records, radios, televisions, record players, Secure Communications, which were used as a voice encryptor, and so many other pieces. Many of which dated anywhere from mid- to late-1900s.
“Rowan expressed an interest in preserving the RCA name,” Reindl said. “Rowan’s president recognized that the RCA name was recognized in South Jersey and so there was a good opportunity to use that recognition to publicize a museum like this and make Rowan a part of that development.”
According to a flier handed out at the preview opening, The RCA Heritage Program Museum’s mission is to “Revive [the] RCA Name and Legacy to South Jersey.” The organization is doing so by creating and maintaining the museum of RCA memorabilia.
Jake Clemetson, a senior electrical and computer engineering major at Rowan has worked for the RCA Heritage Program Museum for the last two years.
“So what I do is I fix up old radios and refurbish these old radios,” Clemetson said. “And pretty much every piece of equipment you see in here I’ve worked on or touched or moved at some point.”
The RCA Heritage Program Museum also offers scholarships to Rowan students who are working to earn a master’s degree in electrical engineering. Eight students have received these scholarships so far. The museum will have a formal opening this spring, but until then, it is open to the public by appointment.
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