The Pavek Museum of Broadcasting is a must-see attraction
in St. Louis Park. The museum is located at 3515-17 Raleigh
Ave., close by the Rec Center and the Post Office.
The nucleus of the collection is the many antique radios
donated by Joe Pavek, who had picked them up as he worked as
a traveling nuts-and-bolts salesman. In 1988, the museum was
formed to display these radios. Since then, many other
donations have augmented Pavek’s initial collection. Today,
the museum is filled with hundreds of antique radios and
televisions, but also TV cameras and other artifacts from
the broadcasting industry in and around Minnesota.
One of the biggest contributions the museum makes to the
community is its Broadcast Workshop program. This is one of
the most popular field trips for elementary schools in the
area. Kids are given scripts and perform a radio show,
complete with songs, commercials, and news flashes that they
write themselves, coming over a real teletype machine. This
all takes place in a mockup radio studio with authentic
Students come to the museum to learn about electricity and
communication. A highlight is a demonstration of a spark gap
transmitter like the one that was used to signal SOS on the
Titanic. Later, at the quiz show set, students are tested to
see how much they remember.
You may have seen the museum featured in the SLP Sun
newspaper last July when it won a prestigious national award
for preserving the history of electronic communications and
for its educational work.
The Pavek has been a strong partner with the SLPHS, and the
Society even held meetings in their board room in the early
years. Assoc. Director Tom Mittelstaedt has also provided
much-needed technical assistance to the Re-Echo staff.
The museum is open Tuesday-Friday from 10-6, and Saturdays
from 9 to 5. It is always best to call ahead, especially if
you have a group. (Most weekday mornings are occupied with
the Broadcast Workshop.) A trip to the Pavek is a surprising
and educational experience.