[pups] Us vs. Museums

Jeffrey S. Sharp jss at ou.edu
Mon Mar 5 01:43:54 AEST 2001

I don't know everyone's perspective on this issue, and it would be good to hear 
some alternate viewpoints.  Basically, I am against people giving classic 
computers in working condition to museums.  Instead, I believe that they should 
donate or sell their machines to enthusiasts who will play with them and learn 

A while back, I ran across a person that had some hardware I wanted.  He was 
torn between selling it to me and giving it to a museum.  I didn't have a lot 
of money available to give him, and donation to a museum (a nonprofit) would 
get him an impressive tax deduction.  I did some research about what it takes 
to start a nonprofit organization, but it looked too expensive (lawyers) and 
time-consuming to be a viable option for me.  I sent the following argument to 

> While I would love to establish a collection of these machines,
> I'm definitely not a 'collector' as the term has come to mean
> today; I'm not in it to get something rare, to make money, or
> to have some pretty decorations in my house.  While it would
> certainly be nice to have a pretty system, my priority is to
> get something that I can learn with.  I want to *run* these
> machines.  I want to *explore* these machines.  I want to *hack*
> on these machines, to see what unexpected things they can be
> coerced into doing.  I want to get as close as I can to the
> *experience* of computing in these machines' era.  If these
> machines go to a museum, they're just pretty art, and they will
> educate _no_one_.  They will sit behind glass walls, no one
> ever will touch them again, and no one will ever turn them on or
> keep them in working order.  They are effectively lost.  That's
> little better then scrapping them, and you _KNOW_ how you feel
> about that!

What do you think about this?

(BTW, if anyone wants to use the quoted paragraph, they are free to)

Jeffrey S. Sharp
jss at ou.edu

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