Oops, forgot something -- RE: [midatlanticretro] Infoage visit report
- Forgot this: the Grabbe collection also includes 45,000 slides and dozens of binders of system documentation. Mr. Grabbe lives in Harrisburg, PA, and the official date for InfoAge to move his stuff will be later this month or in June. Fred is going to give me Grabbe's contact info, and I will hopefully get the whole story directly...Hi all,
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Evan
Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 4:51 AM
Subject: [midatlanticretro] Infoage visit report
Here's the InfoAge trip report.
But first: who posted the photo titled "1950s vision of home computers" to
our Yahoo group? I'm sorry to tell you this, mysterious poster, but that
photo was just a joke that circulated the 'net several months ago. Bottom
line, it's fake, and you were duped.
...On to more exciting matters: today (well technically yesterday; it's 4am
Sunday right now), Andy and I visited the Infoage Learning Center. Fred
Carl, who directs the whole operation, gave us a two-hour tour of the
campus. The relevant history stems from the campus' days as a U.S. Army
research facility, although at various other times the area was a Christian
college and a private development tract dominanted by the KKK. (Luckily the
latter group failed.) It's poetic justice that the facility now is an
official black history site. We saw the insides of several buildings, many
closely resembling the original layouts. Around almost every corner, Fred
pointed out some famous (and some infamous) aspects of military and/or radio
history, many of which were top-secret during wartime. Eventually, Andy
said he felt like looking over his shoulder for ghosts! (There's an
official history at http://www.infoage.org/history.html -- check it out.)
The campus is huge, and "campus" is the right word -- it's a very park-like
setting complete with a building referred to as the "hotel" were engineers
and other military people lived in dorm-like environments. There was a
dining hall, recreation facilities, etc. We also toured the administrator's
house, which (if I recall correctly) will become the National Broadcasters
Hall of Fame. Another cool attraction there is a massive dish antenna.
Another building, which I forget the name of, houses where the technology
museum(s) will be. (Andy -- was that part of the hotel?) There will be
areas for diving technology (also with stuff they found in the Atlantic
Ocean, like U-boat things and even locomotives); radar and all sorts of
radio things; stuff related to military culture; and office space for
various science-related non-profit associations. And, the part you MARCHers
really care about: the computer museum.
The room where they'll house the computer museum was about the size of a
small gymnasium or ballroom. I apologize for not measuring it. Best of
all, as I explained in a previously group message, they're about to inherit
an existing large collection from Dimitry Grabbe and the IEEE (more about
that at http://www.infoage.org/grabbe.htm -- check that out, too). Fred
gave us a detailed list of what's in the collection. The list includes one
full page of vintage computers and five more pages listing random
components. Of the complete systems, some of the highlights are from DEC
(PDP 8/8, various Vax, PDP-11 stuff); a Friden 132 calculator; various HP
2000 and 9000 stuff; some NEC and Osborne portable stuff; a few Textronics
systems, and -- in my opinion what are the two most amazing things -- a
Prime mainframe and (saving the best for last here) -- what MIGHT be part of
an ENIAC adder.....!!!
So, here's where we come in: Infoage wanted to find a group of local people
to run the computer museum. They want that group to interact with visitors,
children, the other resident technology history organizations, the media,
etc. As it turns out, just as Infoage was beginning to wonder who'd fill
this role, MARCH was founded. Then, by coincidence, both Infoage (via
NJARC) and MARCH did the TCF thing; we also had some mutual contacts at the
IEEE History Center. Talk about good luck. Fred explained to Andy and I
that Infoage's board demands and expects nothing except that we try our
best, if we accept this task. (Of course our club name would be a major
part of the museum. We wouldn't merely be Infoage volunteers; it would be
something like "MARCH @ InfoAge" or whatever.) Not only would be have
control of the computer museum and be the local experts, we'd also get to
store our own collections there if desired (they have excellent loading
facilities, etc.), and we'd be allowed to hold events there, such as swap
meets and the eventual VCF East. They'd like us to help develop interactive
exhibits, basically just web pages running on standard PCs adjacent to each
display. So, for example, if we started the museum with 20 exhibit
categories, we could each take the lead of two or three categories, and that
would be easy enough to accomplish in a few months' time.
Andy: that's all I have for now; do you wish to add anything; did I forget
To all of MARCH: what say you? Are we up to this unique challenge? I vote
PS -- Fred and other Infoage people are around almost every weekend, if
anyone else would like a tour.
PS #2 -- Andy took some photos and will upload them soon.
Evan Koblentz's personal homepage: http://www.snarc.net
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