Father of Television Statue Comes Home

Mar 16, 2020

"His inventions can be said to have started us down the path to where we are now with computers and with iPhones and all of that, because without the first invention of the television, who knows where we would have been?" said Erin Wynn, executive director of the Martha Hughes Cannon Oversight Committee, on the legacy of Philo T. Farnsworth, who invented the tubes that made early television possible.

Because the statue of Dr. Cannon, Utah’s and America’s first female state senator, is joining the National Statuary Hall in Washington, D.C., one of Utah’s two statues already there must come out. Brigham Young’s is staying, but Philo's, which was installed there in 1990, needed a new home. So they put out nationwide calls to see who could best host Philo.

"One of the initial conversations had been about maybe giving him to the Smithsonian. But the statue isn't an artifact, it's a piece of art, and they said they didn't have the room to display him so he probably would have ended up in a basement somewhere...which is the exact opposite of what we want," Wynn detailed. "We want to celebrate his history. We wanted to see what our communities had to offer and how best they could celebrate his legacy."

The winning proposal came from Utah Valley University. UVU already has a Philo T. Farnsworth display and other pieces from Philo's statue's same artist. They plan on switching the statues and installing Philo there sometime later this year.