[vcf-midatlantic] School Preparation for Visiting a Computer Museum

Herb Johnson hjohnson at retrotechnology.info
Fri Dec 27 12:43:34 EST 2019

> Movies/YouTubes/Articles/Books to prepare high school students for a visit to our computer museum(s)
"Our" being the System Source Computer Museum  https://museum.syssrc.com

I'm playing this straight, it's a real question.

If I were making choices, I'd look at that museum's collection, decide 
what themes are present in the collection, and then look for materials 
that represent them 1) in a reasonably accurate way 2) present any 
considerations about how to "represent" them 3) are not overly long in 
time or overly technically challenging and 4) are geared for a pre-adult 
audience. Teachers have other criteria but I'll leave those to them.

The collection in question, is of course about vintage computing - pre 
2000 era -  and seems to include printing and mobile devices and 
toy/instructional computers. One kind of choice might be, presentations 
about each or some of those subjects.

A Web search of "documentaries about computers" finds all kinds of lists 
of *documentaries* about computers and computing. Why those and not 
"movies"? Documentaries are typically one or a series which often last 
about an hour (each), a convenient time interval. Movies are driven to 
be dramatic, entertaining, and sometimes non-factual; of course they 
last well over an hour. Some documentaries may have related course 

Movies have been covered. I'm surprised documentaries haven't. Maybe 
someone has suggestions? There's plenty of them, and they are of course 
described on their own Web pages.

One other thing. There's many ways to present vintage computing. My 
experience as a technical person FROM the 1970's era (and so an old 
person now), is that younger people today have a different view of 
"vintage" computing. One divide is an emphasis (or not) on 
video-game-enabled computing. Another divide, is between persons or 
objects "in the computing profession" and those not. There's others. So, 
a collection presents things and information, which supports one or more 
of these and other views.

(shrug) Whoever runs a museum, makes some choices along these lines, 
deliberately or not. Of course instructors have their own views, as do 
producers of documentaries and movies. So do discerning viewers, if they 
are able and willing. "Does this present a point of view that serves my 
purposes? or doesn't? or someone else's?". It's a larger consideration 
in modern life. It's worth a thought for this particular matter and this 
particular museum.

Herb Johnson
old techie by profession

Herbert R. Johnson, New Jersey in the USA
http://www.retrotechnology.com OR .net
preserve, recover, restore 1970's computing
email: hjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT com
or try later herbjohnson AT retrotechnology DOT info

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