Us vs. Museums

From: Jeffrey S. Sharp <>
Date: Sun Mar 4 09:43:54 2001

I don't know everyone's perspective on this issue, and it would be good to hear
some alternate viewpoints. Basically, I am against people giving classic
computers in working condition to museums. Instead, I believe that they should
donate or sell their machines to enthusiasts who will play with them and learn

A while back, I ran across a person that had some hardware I wanted. He was
torn between selling it to me and giving it to a museum. I didn't have a lot
of money available to give him, and donation to a museum (a nonprofit) would
get him an impressive tax deduction. I did some research about what it takes
to start a nonprofit organization, but it looked too expensive (lawyers) and
time-consuming to be a viable option for me. I sent the following argument to

> While I would love to establish a collection of these machines,
> I'm definitely not a 'collector' as the term has come to mean
> today; I'm not in it to get something rare, to make money, or
> to have some pretty decorations in my house. While it would
> certainly be nice to have a pretty system, my priority is to
> get something that I can learn with. I want to *run* these
> machines. I want to *explore* these machines. I want to *hack*
> on these machines, to see what unexpected things they can be
> coerced into doing. I want to get as close as I can to the
> *experience* of computing in these machines' era. If these
> machines go to a museum, they're just pretty art, and they will
> educate _no_one_. They will sit behind glass walls, no one
> ever will touch them again, and no one will ever turn them on or
> keep them in working order. They are effectively lost. That's
> little better then scrapping them, and you _KNOW_ how you feel
> about that!

What do you think about this?

(BTW, if anyone wants to use the quoted paragraph, they are free to)

Jeffrey S. Sharp
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Received on Sun Mar 04 2001 - 09:43:54 GMT

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