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In Living  Color: The Long Quest for Television

In Living  Color: The Long Quest for Television

Premiering Online:
For more information about the exhibition and related program, click here

When American audiences tuned into NBC in 1957, they might have heard the announcer proclaim that “the following program is brought to you in living color!,” and they would have seen an animation of a peacock unfurl its six-colored tail feathers… in black and white. Although the first patent for a color television system was issued in 1902, and John Logie Baird successfully demonstrated a working color television system in his London laboratory in 1928, most American homes only had black and white televisions until the late 1960s. Why did it take so long for people to turn to color?

From this side of history, where we carry screens capable of displaying brilliant color in our pockets, it seems like color television was an inevitable and natural outcome of a decades-long quest to add sight to radio sound. However, the history of color television encompassed much more than the logical progression of technological advancement. Seeing “in living color” had as much to do with politics and consumer uncertainty as it did with changes in technology.

Innovations that Changed the World: An Introduction to the Sarnoff Collection


Innovations that Changed the World: An Introduction to the David Sarnoff Collection is a long-term exhibition that explores the state’s pioneering contributions to the electronics industry.  The exhibition traces the history of telecommunications from the invention of radio to the dawn of information age using objects drawn from TCNJ’s David Sarnoff Collection.

Innovations That Changed the World allows TCNJ students and faculty, visitors, researchers, and local school groups to engage with over eighty artifacts from the Sarnoff Collection, as well as dozens of vintage photographs, letters, and advertisements.

In addition to a biographical display highlighting David Sarnoff’s remarkable rise from impoverished immigrant to industrial innovator, the exhibition is divided into nine sections, each highlighting a different technology developed by RCA—radio, the phonograph, black-and-white television, color television, electron microscopy, computing, integrated circuits, home video, and flat panel displays. Visitors will not only learn about the scientific principles behind these technologies but also the social and historical contexts into which they were introduced.

The exhibition is open to the public free of charge on Wednesdays from 1:00 to 5:00, on Sundays from 1:00 to 3:00, and by appointment for groups and school visits. The exhibition is located on the second floor of Roscoe West Hall. For a map with parking and building locations, please click here. For more information or questions, contact