Meet John Ellsworth, director of the Vintage Radio & Communications Museum and an instructor for our Crystal Radio Building class at the Faire!
GHMF: Can you tell me what your project is about?
Ellsworth: We show students how to build the first and most basic radio, a crystal set. The radio runs completely on the power of the radio waves. It is a fascinating project that takes about 90 minutes to complete.
GHMF: I understand people will be able to build an actual radio. What kind of expertise is needed for that? Is there a certain audience/age group who tends to be attracted to your exhibits?
Ellsworth: Radio builders should be about eight years old or older. The younger students may need some parental help. However, no special skills are needed.
GHMF: What inspired you to start working on a building project like this?
Ellsworth: We exhibit early 1900’s crystal radios and they are so simple, we thought it would be fun and educational to help people build modern versions of these antique radios.
GHMF: Any big plans in your project’s future?
Ellsworth: We do many of these classes each year at the museum for cub and girl scout troops, home schooled children, and public school students. Occasionally, adults like to build the radios too.
GHMF: The maker movement has become a global phenomenon. Yet, many people are not sure what a maker is or does. What do you think is the biggest misconception about this community?
Ellsworth: I think that most people think that makers have to be high tech and complicated. I think the simple projects are quite often the best.
GHMF: Is there anything else you would like to share about your project?
Ellsworth: Since this radio runs off of the radio waves and has no other power source, it runs 24/7/365 if left connected to an antenna and ground wire. If the power were to go out, the radio would still be working.
GHMF: What is the best way for people to get in touch with you?