Several weeks ago as I was at ERA picking up my weekly collection of odds and sods, I met a fellow picking up his weekly assortment of odds and sods. We got chatting and it turned out that he has a passion for electronics and retro computers. One thing he has been interested in attempting to create is a retro computer museum for Calgary. This piqued my interest for a good many reasons, and I wondered if such a topic might generate any interest within this community.
In my mind, such a museum would not only house collections of historic significance throughout the computing age, but could also provide space for groups like this one to meet and to learn and to tinker and to connect. As long as [we] wouldn't mind rubbing shoulders and sharing the space with Atari or Apple folk (smirk), I think it could be an incredible resource for young and old alike.
Post by analogthinker on Dec 6, 2022 13:09:28 GMT -7
Thanks for sharing Cube! It was nice to meet you as well
Here are more details on the idea:
I believe Calgary deserves a “Computer History Museum”.
I believe we collectively have enough cool gear, spares and oddities stored in our basements to make something half descent.
I have started investigating provincial grants, it could be a perfect place to (ideas but not limited to): - Display some of our personal collections - Encourage donations - Have a small repair lab in the back - Have a place to organize events (LAN, Conferences, kind of what AMUC does…) - Bring awareness on some projects - Maybe have an area with Arcades and sell goodies - Advertise mods, organize sell events… - Have Training sessions (old stuff like DOS, repair 101 etc. or newer tech like Arduino/IoT for kids who want to create their robot or something for example) - That could also become a sort of an alternate FabLab (open to public with subscription) with some 3D printing stations, PCB design services, soldering stations, for those who don’t have knowledge and equipment, and maybe older media recovery services for enterprise modernizing their equipment or going through an archiving exercise) - A place to have video equipment and a small studio for streaming or make videos I still have no idea what business model we could have, I always sucked with advertising as well but if you think this is a good idea let me know! I Believe there is great potential in a big city like ours, and I value your thoughts! I really believe we are enough passionate and a few of us, me included, would love to have their stuff in display and talk about it rather than in a box.
Would probably start with some of our items and overtime we would have more diversity by getting donations from all across the province, it would be a win for everyone! Maybe even create jobs!
I’d had an idea similar to this stuck in my head for years, primarily as a way to get my piles of retro gear and software out of storage (and my basement and my garage) … into a space that could be accessed and appreciated by like-minded collectors and aficionados.
Although I’ve already given most of my Commodore stuff to Blaine for redistribution, I still have lots of other oddball bits that don’t fit into my collection. I’m trying to focus on Macs and Newton devices, but there’s always a bunch of other stuff.
* I have several parts and components from a DEC PDP 8/M mini mainframe that was purchased as surplus from Husky Oil around 1982. There’s a pair of rackmount chassis, DECpack RK05 drive, DECwriter terminal, external power supply, and a 861C power control. * A Volker Craig 404 terminal (originally from Alberta Government telephones) of the same approximate vintage. * An Interdata CRT terminal with a snazzy blue, metal-cased keyboard. * A Sun SparcStation 20 Model 544 with keyboard and tape drive that was used as an intranet and email server in the mid to late 90s. * Tandy Color Computer 2, boxed * Adam ColecoVision Family Computer System, SmartWriter printer, boxed * IBM Model P75 486 portable
And that’s just a start.
I’m very excited about the potential of this project.
Speaking of AGT, Many years ago I had a pair of Datacom 400's... In fact I am pretty sure I still have the keyboard and print head from one of them - it's the size of my fist! There are probably very few people left who would even remember what one of those things was.
I don't really know anything about starting a museum, but if I had to guess I'd suppose one must first have some kind of a business plan, then find some investors / secure grants / go fund me / etc. and then locate a space to utilize. You have to think in this current market environment there must be lots of vacant warehouse-like space out there... Something with some open areas and maybe some offices that could be converted into theme rooms / classrooms / hangout spaces, etc. and with the larger space for storage / exhibitioning classic systems...