The Hellerup phone exchange
The Hellerup phone exchange

New Museum Focuses on Media and Communications

Displays in the Denmark facility range from an antique phone switchboard to a satellite dish like ones that are connecting Ukrainians to the internet.

The Enigma Museum of Communication, which will open on November 19 in Copenhagen, Denmark, will focus on the past, present, and future state of media and communications. Housed in a hundred-year-old post office as well as an adjacent building, the three-floor, 13,000-square-foot facility has over 100,000 objects and will display close to 500 at any one time, from an old 46-foot telephone central switchboard to a tiny postage stamp. 

The Hellerup telephone exchange, run by a small army of female operators from 1924 until it went fully automatic 54 years later, is the first exhibit you’ll see when entering. Another display concerns the 1624 establishment of the Danish postal service.

Objects in the museum include a SpaceX Starlink satellite dish, like those used to provide internet connectivity to Ukrainians in the ongoing war. Also here is the oldest Enigma electro-mechanical rotor cipher machine, which was used by the Germans in World War II for messages that the British managed to decrypt. In addition, the museum houses a reproduction of a ball mail coach, a Danish invention that looks like Cinderella’s pumpkin coach and was employed from 1815 until 1865 to deliver correspondence. 

“Almost daily, we are presented with news about the spread of misinformation, leaked social security numbers, or private photos that should not have been shared,” says Jane Sandberg, Enigma’s director. “We need to understand the nuts and bolts of the communications technologies we use in order not to be used by them.”