There’s little we enjoy more than visiting (and subsequently writing about) unique and interesting places, collections, and displays in Milwaukee. Recently, we were fortunate to tour a rarely-viewed treasure trove of audio history at Bob Paquette’s Microphone Museum.

The Bob Paquette Microphone Museum in Walker's Point, Milwaukee, WI; the largest collection of microphones in the world. All photos by Joe Powell.

The Bob Paquette Microphone Museum in Walker’s Point, Milwaukee, WI; the largest collection of microphones in the world. All photos by Joe Powell.

Bob Paquette Sr., a military vet, has been a sound-junky since his days as a radio operator in the Air Force. He started his own business, Select Sound Service, back in the 1950s, and has grown the electronic communications company to two locations and over 30,000 square feet of warehouse space in Walker’s Point.

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But hiding on the second floor of this warehouse, up an old iron staircase and behind some plywood walls, stands the world’s largest collection of microphones: 1200, give or take. It’s this astounding display that we heard about and initially came to see, but Bob led us first through his equally-impressive assortment of recording equipment, armed forces memorabilia, artwork, and even a full-size replica of the radio operator’s space on the Air Force airplanes he worked on.

Katie earning her stripes.

Katie earning her stripes.

Bob is a wealth of knowledge; he has a story about every single microphone and every detail of his enormous collection. He’s been collecting microphones for nearly 70 years, with the majority having been produced before 1950 (when the collection started). Take a look below at some images, which can do more justice that my own words.

The Microphone Museum is not generally open to the public anymore, though Bob’s enthusiasm for the collection has not subsided. To get your own taste of Mr. Paquette’s dedication and expertise straight from him, check out his seminal book on the subject (History & Evolution of the Microphone) and give the following video a watch from Youtube’s the Tube Test Show: