Calling Collectors

The New Computer Museum, in both the virtual form it is taking now as well as whatever real life physical form that it might take in the future, seeks to celebrate what hobbyists, private collectors and small museums are doing to preserve computing history in New England.

One of the most important lessons that has come from trying to set up a computer museum is that the enterprise of saving computing history during this critical time requires a robust ecology that covers the spectrum from large museums to individual hobbyists saving computers in basements or garages. No one institution, group or individual can or should try to do it all because it just takes way to much expertise, time, space and other resources. It is simple. The more distributed and local computer history preservation activity there is going on now, the more robust and specific computer history will be in the future.

Luckily, there is a lot more going on out there than most people realize. There are a number of places you can look to find information, and there are links to some of them here.

The information on that page is currently very general. Meanwhile, the New Computer Museum has been getting more and more inquiries from donors about whether we want old computers and related materials. While we do accept some very specific things that contribute to our current and future exhibits, we have been referring the majority of offers to other collectors and institutions in New England (MA, RI, VT, NH, ME). This has been getting fairly time consuming while also not being ideal — there are certainly many worthy collectors in the local area that who would be well suited to receive some of the offers, and they would love to do it, but we’re just not aware of them at this time.

That is why we are putting together a New England Wide Computer Collector Directory that will be hosted on this site. Over the next few months we will be actively trying to find computer collectors in the New England area to add to the directory so that potential donors can contact the most appropriate collectors directly. Of course, if the New Computer Museum is putting together an exhibit, we will also hope to turn to those same collectors for support.

So, if you or someone you know wants to be added to the directory, please let us know!

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