I have just came back from seeing a preview of the Computer Museum of America (CMoA) that is slated to open in Roswell, GA north of Atlanta later this year. WOW, it’s going to be huge!
Most of us that are into the computer history scene have already been aware that a computer museum has been percolating there for sometime. That’s mostly because the founder of CMoA, Lonnie Mimms, has worked with the Atlanta Historical Computing Society to provide a venue for the Vintage Computing Festival South East (VCF-SE) for the last few years. For anyone who has attended VCF-SE before this year, the big news is that now there is a huge new location that is being renovated to serve as the permanent home of the CMoA.
The new location will be able to house some much larger exhibits, both literally and figuratively. To give you a sense of what I mean by that, take a look at the “virtual exhibit” of Super Computers that you will find on this site.
My intention was to take advantage of the “virtual” to be deliberately fanciful. Thus I included the large and rare Cray-1 and Connection Machine-1 (CM-1) for two reasons. The first reason was that they are some of the most recognizable and photogenic systems. The other reason was because I happen to know people who collect such things. Here is a picture of two of them that I snapped when I had the honor of introducing them to each other for the first time at the Flea@MIT back in 2014.
Still, even though I knew who might have or be able to find the systems, I never really believed the exhibit would ever exist because the cost to create and display it would be too prohibitive.
Imagine how exciting it was to see a proto-exhibit of Crays and Thinking Machines in real life! Here’s a Cray-1 swaddled in shipping material.
Here are some of its siblings.
Here is a CM-2 upstaging a Cray X-MP and a couple of its siblings.
Here’s a CM-2’s DataVault with other interesting systems huddling behind it.
You get the gist, and that is just as sample to help you imagine the scale of what the CMoA will be when it opens this year. There are also a lot of other spaces and plans in the works, and you can find out more about them for yourself on CMoA’s website.
There is no doubt that it will become a “must see” attraction for anyone interested in the history of computing, not only on this coast, but also in this country and around the world.