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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 October, 2003, 11:02 GMT 12:02 UK
Bell rings in new phone gallery
Hugh Muller with old phone
Hugh Muller tries out his great grandfather's invention
The great grandson of the telephone inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, is launching a new exhibition in Scotland commemorating the work of his famous ancestor.

Hugh Muller, 71, has travelled from his home in Nova Scotia, Canada, to view the "Communicate!" gallery at Edinburgh's Royal Museum.

The exhibition, which is part of the BT-funded Connected Earth project, commemorates Bell's work and features the many ways people have communicated over the years, from drums and carrier pigeons to the internet and mobile phones.

Mr Muller said of his great grandfather: "He always spoke fondly of his time in Edinburgh and it would make him very happy to know that he was still remembered in such a special way."

The gallery opens to the public on Friday, 24 October and will be a permanent fixture in the museum, forming the centrepiece of its science wing.

Dr Gordon Rintoul, director of the National Museums of Scotland, said Communicate! was an important step towards creating a "world-class museums service".

Alexander Graham Bell
We are fulfilling our pledge to honour Alexander Graham Bell in the country of his birth and to pay tribute to his lifetime achievements
Bob Downes
BT Scotland
More than 160 objects have been brought together from around the world, including a slit gong drum from Papua New Guinea and the last manual switchboard in the UK which came from the Isle of Skye.

BT Connected Earth curator Alison Taubman said: "There are a number of interactive exhibits, giving people the chance to experience the art of communicating.

"We have a giant mobile phone keypad on the floor where visitors can text using their feet and also a machine where people can practice the art of Morse code."

Bob Downes, director of BT Scotland, added: "This is the fourth and biggest Connected Earth exhibition and where better a place for it to be than Scotland?

"By teaming up with the National Museums of Scotland, we are fulfilling our pledge to honour Alexander Graham Bell in the country of his birth and to pay tribute to his lifetime achievements."

  • Alexander Graham Bell was born in Edinburgh in 1847 and later moved to Ontario then to the United States where he settled in Boston, before beginning his career as an inventor.

He was interested in the education of deaf people, which led him to invent the microphone and, in 1876, his "electrical speech machine," which has become known as the telephone.

By 1878, Bell had set up the first telephone exchange in New Haven, Connecticut.




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