[vcf-midatlantic] Museum Report 2017-11-11 November 11, 2017

Eric Rangell erangell at gmail.com
Sun Nov 12 12:43:53 EST 2017

Hello all,

I made my first trip to the InfoAge Science Center and VCF museum in Wall,
NJ on Saturday Nov. 11, 2017.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience,
mainly because I saw artifacts that I had only seen in magazines and never
in real life.  Before going into the VCF building I was drawn to the radio
exhibits and appreciated the quality and dedication that went into
producing electronics of the early 20th century.  These objects and the
people who built them were talking to me.  I like the way highly technical
content is just displayed along with the artifacts to remind us of the deep
knowledge base we inherited.

I then met Jeff and slowly walked through every machine on display.  I can
imagine the people working with them when they were state of the art.  They
had the time to learn, dream, think, and carefully operate the switches and
controls, acting as scientists using the scientific method to observe,
hypothesize, log, diagnose, and catch bugs flying inside the equipment.  It
will be amazing to see some of the old machines restored and running in the
future.  Then the computers of the 70s and 80s brought me back to childhood
and helped me understand the wonder that kids today need to feel and
appreciate as they stand on our shoulders.  I mostly appreciated the
machines of the 60s-70s like the PDP11, IMSAI, Altair, PET, Apple
1,2,3,Lisa and the luggables.  The tiny but sharp green screen display on
one of the luggables was impressive, along with the help file describing
the capabilities of the machine.  It sparked an interest in learning about
a few of them and their capabilities.  It was great to see Ted Nelson’s
book “Computer Lib” on display, and the lego interface for the Apple 2.  I’d
love to spend time looking at the old manuals and learning from people who
worked with the machines at future VCF events.

Afterwards I visited the other exhibits in the building - I spent a lot of
time in the Veteran Wireless Operators exhibit appreciating the
communication challenges of early radio and telegraphy.  I then saw the
fascinating exhibit of military vehicles and equipment and was humbled by
the sacrifices people made to preserve freedom.  It put everything in
perspective and was a very meaningful Veterans day for me.

Thank you, Eric Rangell

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