Chatham Marconi Maritime Center Opens Friday

The view of the former Hotel Nautilus from Rt. 28

CHATHAM – In conjunction with Chatham History Weekend, Chatham Marconi Maritime Center’s Marconi-RCA Wireless Museum opens on Friday for the 2016 season.

This season commemorates the 95th anniversary of Chatham Radio, operated by Radio Corporation of America (RCA) under the call letters WCC, and for most of the 20th Century the busiest ship-to-shore station on the East Coast.

The 2016 season will feature new exhibits in the three galleries of the Museum, located on the Ryder’s Cove campus in North Chatham.

Alan Pollock, local reporter and historian, will be signing his new book, Chatham, as a special weekend event, from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, on the porch of the Center’s Education Center.

The heart of Chatham Radio’s activities occurred in the Operations Building, now housing the Wireless History gallery which highlights the story of maritime communications from Marconi’s early days to the late 20th Century.

“From long-haul traffic which was competitive but not very profitable, to ship-to-shore traffic where they were able to shine, was quite significant to the existence of this station and therefore the preservation of these facilities for most of the 20th century,” said Museum Vice-President Bob Fishback.

A unique addition is the popular Enigma Cipher Machine exhibit detailing the secret work done during World War II.

Chatham Radio played a significant role in defeating the Germans during the Battle of the Atlantic by intercepting Enigma-encrypted wireless messages between German headquarters and its ships at sea.

Interactive exhibits highlight videos of Marconi’s life, the role of WCC in world events, the ship-to-shore communication process with the actual shipboard radio from the hospital ship SS Hope, artifacts from important periods in WCC’s history.

In addition to relaying commercial and personal messages to ships around the world, WCC provided communications with pioneer aviators including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes.

New exhibits encompass wireless technology behind the digital age, modern travel and cyberattacks, joining ones on tracking white sharks via satellite and ships at sea via live radio links.

Fishback said visitors always learn something new at the museum.

“They look at the equipment and the history that we have here and you can see the entire broad spectrum of what went on in the 20th century to some degree,” said Fishback.

The Museum will be open for History Weekend 10:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday mand 1-4 p.m. on Sunday.

For more information, visit or call the Center at 508-945-8889.


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