23. 11. 2022

Celebrating The First Year of the Mobile Phone Museum

by Ben Wood

It’s hard to believe it’s a year ago today that we officially launched the Mobile Phone Museum at a memorable event in central London. It was an evening attended by the great and the good of the mobile industry as well as key members of the technology media and various other supporters of our charity project. It was a huge undertaking to put on a “one-night only” exhibition, and this was only made possible through the generous support of Vodafone UK who remains our anchor sponsor.

Reflecting on the last 12 months I’m extremely proud of what we have achieved. We have continued our commitment to curating the world’s most authoritative collection of mobile phones. At the time of launch we had 2000 unique devices and this has grown by an impressive 500 additional mobile phones, the majority of which have been donated by members of the public and people who work in technology industry. Furthermore, we’ve also been extremely successful in securing 20 products on our “Most Wanted” list including the Nokia N950, Motorola Aura Diamond Edition, Samsung Serene and the Philips Ilium Synergy. These are all rare devices that help us set our collection further apart from others around the world.

The Mobile Phone Museum has also been popular with the media being featured in both print and video, highlights from the past 12 months include a video created by new smartphone maker Nothing and this excellent piece that appeared recently in Tech Radar Pro. We also appeared on Channel 5’s Big Antique Adventure as part of an “antiques of the future” slot. All of this enthusiasm and coverage has helped maintain interest in the Museum project and encouraged us to keep pushing hard to take it to the next level.

A key part of our mission is using the Mobile Phone Museum collection to help inspire what we hope will be the next generation of young designers and engineers. Although the pandemic has made it challenging to arrange school visits, we’ve successfully undertaken several pilots with primary schools in the south of England. We’ve been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to our workshops and hope that we can develop this element of the charity project more comprehensively in 2023. At present we are in discussions with a number of potential sponsors to secure funding to initiate a STEM box programme which will make it even easier for schools to access our unique resources.

Another highlight was having an exhibition stand at the Mobile Industry Awards, which was celebrating its 20th anniversary. This was a fantastic opportunity to promote the Museum to the vibrant mobile phone industry and we hope it will lead to more donations and support in future.

Looking ahead to 2023, in addition to continuing to develop the educational arm of the charity, we aim to grow the collection further with a goal of reaching over 3000 unique devices by the end of the year. We also hope to add more device images and write-ups to the website as we continue to enhance the content we offer to our visitors.

Although our initial plan had been to continue as a “virtual” online museum until 2025, when we would have a physical exhibition to celebrate the key milestone of 40 years since the first mobile phone call in the UK, we are regularly asked when it will be possible to see the collection in person? On this basis, we have started to look at options to have a small physical exhibition in 2023. It is early days, but when we have news to share we’ll be sure to provide an update.

A huge thank you to the trustees, our lead sponsor Vodafone and our other supporters, in particular Genuine Solutions. Without your help none of this would be possible. We are looking forward to another exciting year ahead and feel confident the Mobile Phone Museum has built a strong platform in its first year that will help us continue growing the charity for years to come.