Director of Phone museum (my father)have collected mobile phones for 15 years now. It all started unexpectedly when he lost an old mobile phone that he had kept as a memento. He tried looking for the same kind at flea markets, but it was nowhere to be found. Later he found out that old mobile phones were disassembled and thrown away. Only the necessary, reusable parts were kept. As a child, he had visited many museums and read many archaeology books. To him, throwing away old, vintage phones was like losing part of the world’s history. He asked the merchants at the flea market, and they said they had never seen anybody collect mobile phones. He came home that day and talked with his family. It would be challenging and it would require much money, but his family and he decided to collect mobile phones. They believed that mobile phones represented the culture of the 20th century. In January of 2008, they opened the Phone Museum, and luckily it was recorded the world’s first Mobile Phone Museum.
The first collection at the Phone Museum was the Korean mobile phones for the people in Korea. This time, it was not for a hobby that he was collecting mobile phones; He did it to protect world’s heritage, so He was more systematic and calculative. He also had various thematic exhibitions in mind as he collected Korean mobile phones. Korea is the country of the most various cell phones production, so it was difficult to collect everything; however, he had collected 99.5% of all mobile phones that had existed in Korea. For important mobile phones, over 10 of the same category were collected and displayed in different themes. For example, 8 of the world’s first 10 million pixel camera phones made by Samsung Electronics were collected and displayed at four different themes. The four themes were First of the World, Phones Recorded in the Guinness World Records, History of Camera Phones, and Chronology. Two of the eight phones were placed in each theme. This was so that the visitors can view both the front and the back of the phone, since they are untouchable due to the display cases that surround them. For the same phone, if the colors were different, then those were collected as well.
The second collection at the Phone Museum was the Korean mobile phones for export. These mobile phones used different communication methods, so they were not the same as the cell phones made for the people in Korea. Because there exists only one Museum for mobile phones, this Mobile Phone Museum is important for foreigners as well. Collecting Korean mobile phones for export was even more difficult than collecting those made for people in Korea. Nonetheless, enough was collected to write the history of Korean phone exportation. They became so important in Korean history that the Cultural Administration suggested registering these cell phones as cultural assets.
The third collection at the Mobile Phone Museum was the foreign products. The book about the history of mobile phones in the world is yet to be written. No one has yet to study the history of mobile phones in a systematic way. And so I had to search on the Internet for a long time, reading and collecting writings and essay papers on mobile phones. From the pieces of information I had collected, I sorted out hundreds of mobile phones that had made an impact in the world. Western countries have different viewpoints on the history of mobile phones. Regarding the world’s first mobile phone and the world’s first smart phone, they think differently from Koreans. Keeping such differences in mind, I designed this collection so that everyone can positively view it whether he is American or European. With SCR-536 handie-Talkie-the world’s first radio telephone-as the starter, I collected 80 different ‘world’s first cell phones.’ They were divided into 4 different themes: Telecommunication System, Function, Form Factor, and Smart Phone.
At the phone museum, the visitors especially gets surprised by the phone called 0-generation, its uses MTS and IMTS systems of car phones, and it’s a variety and marvelous of 1st generation initial portable phone. These collections are the part where even Samsung engineers gets amazed by. Not only phones are at the phone museum. Starting with Alexander Graham bell’s liquid phone L.M. Ericsson’s desktop phone, wall-mounted phone, France mother-in-law phone, very first Strowger dial phone etc. wire phones are historically decorated systematically. Also there are different kinds of pictures, books, pamphlets about Mores, Operator Switchboard, payphone, character phone, military phone, phone booth. All of these relics are total of 6043points. Devices are total of 4629 points (Morse 32, Switchboard 26, wire phone 171, cell phone 4400), relics associated with these such as (materials, pictures, accessories etc.) are total of 1414 points (Mores 7, Switchboard 7, wire phone393, cell phone 1007).
As <US Today> survey, mobile phones and the internet is the biggest part of the change in the humankind lives since the industrial revolution. Motorola is a number 1 mobile phone company for 14 years since 1983. Then Nokia became number 1 for 14 years since 1997. Now Samsung is in number 1 since 2012. Korea is a number 1 in mobile technology and sale. The world’s only phone Museum has 20~21st century cultural heritage are organized in chronological order and 40 different themes.
Phone museum, director Byungchul Lee profile
*1950 Jan 20th born in Seoul
*1969 Graduated Seoul Whimmon High school
*1973 Graduated department of Korean Literature in Dongguk University
*1973~1975 ROTC members of 11th, Front line platoon commander and noncommissioned officer academy instructor
*1975 First lieutenant discharged from army
*1975~2005 Journalist as well as reporter (The Chosun Ilbo, The Kukmin Ilbo, The Sisa Journal)
*2008 Jan Foundation of the phone Museum in Gyeonggi-do Yeoju-gun Jeomdong-myeon dangjin-ri
*books; (1985) <Seokjoo myung Critical Biography>, (1988) <The Great Discovery>, (1996) <A History Expedition in the World 100>, (2002) <The Beautiful Challenge>, (2005) <The Correct Korean>, 10 books etc.