Northland Uncovered: Samuel Morse at Karpeles Museum

DULUTH, Minn. —

Our computers and phones can keep us constantly connected, even if we are communicating across the globe.

But it wasn’t always that way.

A museum here in Duluth has an exhibit that highlights a nineteenth-century inventor whose work was on the forefront of cross-country communication.

His name was Samuel Morse – and his invention, the telegraph, jumpstarted the whole communications industry.

The exhibit at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum in Duluth is full of documents and diagrams from Morse himself about the telegraph.

From patents to contracts, this display gives you a first-hand look into the mind of the man who brought us all closer together.

“Almost all of these documents are originals,” said Museum Director Doris Malkmus.  “They’re hand-written in perfect script and they’re originals from the 1830s that really tell the story of this early invention.”

As sound reverberates inside the historic Karpeles Museum, we hear stories about Morse’s life.

Morse himself was not a scientist by trade – he was first a well-known painter.

But following the death of his wife, he knew a better way to communicate could improve all walks of life.

“Most people associate the telegraph with the first signal that went from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco,” Malkmus said.  “I think we’ve all see its impact.”

Visiting the Karpeles museum is free.

The Samuel Morse exhibit will remain open until the end of the month.

In the spring, the museum plans to showcase an exhibit about Charles Darwin.