Collection policy was Re: No space for vinatge computers in australia (fwd)

From: Hans B Pufal <>
Date: Fri May 23 20:56:37 2003

TeoZ wrote:
> Are the computers at a museum run at all? How much of an old
> computer/mainframe is repairable with modern components and how much is
> custom equipment that needs spares?

So far we have over a dozen machines known to be in working order
ranging from a PDP-9 an IBM 1130, through to microcomputer systems. We
have, so far, never had the need to replace any original component with
modern replacements though we have had discussions as to how and why
such a replacemnt would be justified.

> I would think the museums have static
> displays and are mostly worried about them being complete, but not worried
> about functionality.

I agree, but their worry is unfounded. Since they will never run the
machines they may as well completely gut them and show simply the
cabinet, its all you see in most cases anyway!

I had a discussion with a museum from whom we wanted to borrow a
machine, the last known example, in order to restore it to working
order. They said that was not int heir charter and that they wanted to
preserve the machine in the state they found it. What a waste!!!!

This is my main gripe about museums, a static display loses over 90% of
the interest of a machine. What use knowing the size and color of the
cabinet if you have no insigght into what went on inside!

> Over the years how many people are still around who can
> operate, repair, or maintain 50's era computers? Power requirements would
> also be a pain for the older models.

This is clearly an issue we need to pass on these skills to a younger
generation. Here at ACONIT our goal is a conservatoire of computing
history, hopefully as such it will perpetuate the skills needed. The
issue of resoucres is clearly important also.

   -- hbp
Received on Fri May 23 2003 - 20:56:37 BST

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