If your kids have never been to the the Pavek Museum in St. Louis Park, they’re missing out on a truly unique experience.
From dialing an antique telephone to playing an obscure Theremin, kids will find plenty to keep them entertained.
This hidden gem in St. Louis Park has one of the best collections of electronic communication in the country. The Pavek Museum is best for kids 8 and older. Take the family yourself or suggest it for your kids’ next school field trip.
The Pavek Museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10am-5pm.
1. Practice Morse Code
Communicating in code is inherently intriguing for kids. Morse code, which was developed by Samuel Morse in the 1830s, was essential in warfare from its inception for communication between naval ships and bases as well as communication on land.
Kids can try their hand at Morse code at the Pavek Museum’s electric telegraph station.
2. Experience radio broadcasting
The museum’s newly renovated recording studio is set up for kids to create an entire broadcast, complete with sound effects. Broadcasts air on KPAV, which can be heard on AM Radio in and around the Museum.
Please check for availability of the radio studio by calling ahead or booking a tour or field trip.
3. Learn how to use classic telephones
Kids and teens today can find their way around smartphones better than their parents, but put them in front of a telephone from 30 years ago and some won’t know what to do.
At the Pavek Museum, they can learn to use everything from a candlestick phone from the early 1900s to a rotary phone from the 1960s to a push-button from the 1980s – and call from one to the other.
4. Be on a game show
On field trips, kids have the chance to star in their own game show. The experience is complete with contestant stands and buzzers. An announcer asks questions and the kids buzz in with the answer. There are chairs for the studio audience and a vintage TV that shows the program.
5. Be transfixed by TV ads from the 1950s (on a '50s TV)
The history of electronic communication includes the evolution of TVs. The Pavek Museum has an impressive display of vintage televisions, many of which still work.
You’ll quickly learn that a tiny, black-and-white screen in a 70-year-old device can produce the same trance-like experience for kids as Netflix on an iPhone.
6. Tune a 1920s radio
The Pavek Museum is home to a fully functioning Atwater Kent radio from the 1920s. Atwater Kent was one of the most respected and famous radio manufacturers of that decade.
Using the radio’s three dials, your kids can tune in to their favorite radio station on a machine that’s 100 years old.
7. Play a Theremin
In 1929, RCA created a new instrument they thought would revolutionize music. It didn’t, but it’s still fun to play with.
The Theremin works by moving your hands near two antennae, which changes the pitch and volume of the sound. Kids love it. Learn more about the Theremin.
When to go and how to get there
The Pavek Museum is a fantastic destination for kids, families, and field trips. It’s open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets are $6 for students and $8 for adults and seniors. The address is 3517 Raleigh Ave, St. Louis Park, MN 55416.