Digital Den hosted its first computer history exhibit at the Middlesex Lounge on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge last Sunday evening. More than thirty supporters and key representatives of local computing organizations attended the event to experience exhibits that ranged in age from a functioning PDP 8/L to an Oculus Rift.
The exhibits were provided by a number of partners that, in addition to Digital Den, included the Rhode Island Computer Museum, the Mac Museum, the computer game store Replay’d and other private consultants and collectors. This event was the culmination our six month old initiative to re-establish a computer museum in the Boston/Cambridge area, and this was the first foray into exhibits and events that more closely resemble those of a traditional museum.
A highlight of the event was when Digital Den’s founder Dr. Mary E. Hopper announced that NEW Computer Museum will be the name of the non-profit organization that she plans to found with the cooperation of a coalition of partners that include the organizations and individuals represented at the event along with numerous other partners. She pointed out that NEW stands for “New England Wide” in both name and spirit, and this was symbolized by the cooperation of partners from Rhode Island and New Hampshire in providing the exhibits for the event on Sunday evening.
Digital Den has been sponsoring a small public computer hardware and software archive in the Metropolitan Storage building on Massachusetts Avenue in Cambridge since July, and regular public hours were held over the summer and early fall. The initial funding and collection for the archive was provided by Dr. Hopper with the help of a small group of friends and an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign.
The event on Sunday evening marked a transition in the evolution of the initiative to found a new computer museum from a small computer archive sponsored solely by Digital Den towards a concerted effort by a coalition of partners that collectively hold thousands of computers of a staggering range of models and vintages.
The next phase of the initiative will include a search for a larger location and more the funding to support a more traditional non-profit organization. One potential location for the NEW Computer Museum is the iconic Foundry Building in East Cambridge. Dr. Hopper will attend the tours of the Foundry Building during the day and informational discussion that will be held at Police Headquarters at 6:30 pm by the City of Cambridge next Wednesday, October 30th.
She strongly encourages supporters of the initiative to create a NEW Computer Museum who reside in Cambridge to attend the events and voice their support for keeping the building and allowing non-profit organizations to reside there as tenants.
Information about Community Meeting on Foundry Building, Oct. 30, 2013