Donation policy was Re: CHM gripe

From: Hans B PUFAL <>
Date: Wed Aug 4 05:56:27 2004

Jules Richardson wrote:

> Well, Bletchley's not so much different I suppose. The museum's horribly
> under-staffed by volunteers who are naturally busy doing other things
> most of the time. The volunteers aren't local enough to see immediately
> what examples of the machine being offered we have on site and the
> condition. The only time there's generally a quick response is when it's
> something we know we either don't have, or something so common that we
> know we have lots of them or would have no trouble finding one when we
> suddenly needed one.

Very much the same as ACONIT here in Grenoble.

> Personally the first thing I usually ask of anyone offering to donate
> something is how soon they need it gone :-) We've had people throw stuff
> in the bin before because they haven't had a response the same day.

One problem with this decision making process is that you might well
discard valuable items without knowing. Here at ACONIT we have a general
policy of always taking donations but with the proviso that we might
discard later. The rationale is that the donors often does not know what
they have and a short phone or email description is not sufficient to know.

Two examples : we were offered what was described as an Olivetti 101
which we already had 3 examples of. I was very reluctant to accept
another but the donor insisted saying it was complete with desk etc etc.
Eventually I agreed and when the machine arrived it was not a 101 at all
but a different model with cute tape cartridges and lots of other
interesting accessories and including quite a number of the mag cards
used both for that machine and the 101.

Lesson learned, when someone offered us some Apple equipment we accepted
them not really needing yet another mac or apple or whatever. Imagine my
delight when on examining the donation at ACONIT I opened a cardboard
box and see 2 pristine KIM-1 boards with full documentation.

I know space and other constraints make this policy difficult to adhere
to but I continue to fight for it.

   -- HansP
Received on Wed Aug 04 2004 - 05:56:27 BST

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