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Oops, forgot something -- RE: [midatlanticretro] Infoage visit report

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  • Evan
    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
    Message 1 of 1 , May 8, 2005
      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...

      From: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com [mailto:midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Evan
      Sent: Sunday, May 08, 2005 4:51 AM
      To: midatlanticretro@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [midatlanticretro] Infoage visit report

      Hi all,

      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
      anything important?

      To all of MARCH: what say you?  Are we up to this unique challenge?  I vote
      "hell yes!"...

      - Evan

      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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