Getting Organized

Things are getting organized down at the museum and soon I’ll be able to post some pictures of things as they stand. Moving everything to our new location in October was quite an ordeal and it’s only now that things are nearing completion as an organized display of the collection and not just a bunch of items in storage.

There are two main kinds of items within the museum’s collection: items relating to computer graphics and terminals. The graphics items are obvious, but you might be wondering why the museum colleccts terminals? For a long time, the way people interacted with a computer was through a terminal. This terminal might have been something as primitive as an electromechanical teletype, or as sophisticated as an interactive 3D graphics terminal. The terminal was the part of the computer that you touched directly and for many people, myself included, represents the face of the computer. The Tektronix storage tube terminals, such as the model 4010, were one way that computer graphics was brought within reach of many persons and institutions with a modest budget.

At our current location, items in the museum are grouped together by manufacturer. Major components of the collection are graphics terminals from Tektronix, workstations and servers from Silicon Graphics, workstations and terminals from Evans & Sutherland and terminals from Hewlett-Packard. A variety of CRT terminals, printing terminals, teletypes and flexowriters round out the collection along with a few other odds and ends.

Once this physical organization of the collection is completed, a summary photo gallery will be posted and the real work of cataloging will begin. The museum’s collection will be integrated into an online catalog using Collective Access, an open source museum cataloging system. This will allow anyone to browse the full collection of the museum. It’s expected that completely cataloging the collection will take several years, so the summary photo gallery will serve as a visual index while the catalog is being prepared.

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