In history, businessmen, scientists, and engineers broke new ground in communication technology to achieve our modern-day success. With so much to explore regarding communication technology topics, Dr. Marcus Bendickson, the MIE founder, had some ground breaking of his own to do. For thirty years, Dr. Bendickson had been collecting vintage radios, phonographs, telephones and more as a hobby. He had a longstanding vision of creating a museum to uniquely highlight these artifacts, and to educate the public about electrical and electronic technologies and stories of the past. But where to locate a new museum in Madison County? Should a new facility be built or was there already a building out there just waiting to take on its next special purpose in life?
After searching in the Huntsville/Madison municipal area, Dr. Bendickson found the perfect location: an existing single story 15,000 square foot beauty on University Drive that once held the Real Estate Row showroom for new model homes. Built in 1979, the building has hosted several different businesses over the years. Dr. Bendickson envisioned purchasing the building in 2020 for its grandest incarnation yet: the Museum of Information Explosion (MIE).
Since then, the Museum design and development team have been planning renovations and beginning to fill the facility with a large inventory of vintage equipment artifacts – some purchased, some donated. Renovating the building is taking some time to complete, especially with the challenges of Covid and the global supply chain backlog. For example, the exhibit team is designing panels and partitions to focus presentation of the exhibits and collections. Determining the availability of materials and skilled labor to put it together has been complicated. Meanwhile, the team proceeds with removing old building walls and breaking down doors to accommodate future visitor flow through the exhibit areas.
A large and growing cast of characters are involved to realize creation of the museum. Tim Packard with Fuqua and Partners, is lead architect. Kim Mcquinn from Mcquinn and Eastep is the general contractor completing the primary buildout. John Kelton with Kelton Design is the lead Creative Director orchestrating the layout of the many exhibits and design of the total visitor experience. John Kvach, a renowned local historian, is working to incorporate stories about Alabama companies, scientists, and business leaders who contributed to the development of communication technology. Ethar, Inc., is project managing the facility and exhibit buildouts. As specialists in immersive technology, Ethar is also creating interactive Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) content. Digital interactive exhibits are being provided by Kevin Kunze with QuietPixel. Rounding out the exhibits with professional audio, visual and lighting techniques is MediaMerge, an award-winning media systems integrator from Birmingham.
All of this would not be possible without the inspiring leadership of MIE Executive Director, Dr. Marc Bendickson. If all goes well and supply chain issues let up, the anticipated opening of the Museum of Information Explosion is October, 2022. Stay tuned!