221 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland 32751
Admission: Adults $3, children under 18 $2
Hours: Thursday and Friday noon to 4:00 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: From I-4 Exit 90 go east on Maitland Boulevard, then turn right onto Maitland Avenue and right onto Packwood.
This modest museum, housed in a former residence next to the Maitland Art Center (see below), houses memorabilia of the tiny town of Maitland, which began its life as Fort Maitland in 1838, serving as a way station between larger forts in Sanford and Orlando. There is a timeline of Maitland history supplemented by changing exhibits focusing on a theme. Past exhibits have highlighted Maitland’s Girl Scout history and toys, games, and leisure activities of the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The real attraction here, however, is the Telephone Museum housed in a building out back. Telephone service in this part of Florida began in 1909, when the Galloway family grocery store installed 10 phone lines so their good customers could order by phone. The service mushroomed into what came to be known as the Winter Park Telephone Company, which remained independent and family-owned until 1976 when it was sold to the company that became Sprint. There are several old magneto switchboards here, dating back to 1900, and a large collection of phones, from the old-fashioned, wall-mounted, hand-cranked varieties to a sleek one-piece 1970 Swedish Ericofon. Also on display are samples of copper wiring and other telephony paraphernalia, including wooden conduits once used to snake wire beneath city streets. Some more recent switching equipment is housed here and volunteers hope to get it working again for demonstration purposes.
There are very few explanatory labels, so ask for a guided tour. On my visit, I was escorted by a charming lady who once worked for the Galloways themselves.
Nearby: Maitland Art Center, Waterhouse Residence, Birds of Prey Center.
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