[vcf-midatlantic] Museum and Warehouse report

Jeffrey Brace jeffrey at vcfed.org
Wed Jun 22 03:44:32 UTC 2022

Hello everyone,

I thought someone from the Steering Committee would have replied by now. I
haven't had the time until now, but will explain.

A little frazzled and sorry for the delay. I haven't been reading my emails
for the last few days. Just catching up now, but wanted to respond now that
I have the time. I've been focused on job interviews for a teaching job. I
did the first interview, then 2nd (a demo lesson), and a 3rd interview. Had
my last interview yesterday (Monday). I hope to find out soon if I got the
job.  I have a meeting with the superintendent soon. I've had to prioritize
my job search recently (from Dec to May) because I had put it on hold while
I planned and implemented VCF East. Then on Friday and Saturday I had to
prepare t-shirts and swag that are being taken to VCF West by System
Source. I had already spent about 10 hours over the past few weeks in the
warehouse preparing the swag. I've started organizing all the swag,
supplies, etc from VCF East. There is still more to do.  I missed the
System Source swap meet because of last minute swag gathering, but heard
that it went well. I got there around 9PM on Saturday, stayed overnight at
a hotel and stuck around Sunday until 5PM. I transferred the 7 containers
going to VCF West which will go on a truck driven by Ryan Schiff of System
Source who is going to bring a number of artifacts from System Source for

On Thu, Jun 16, 2022 at 5:26 PM Adam Michlin via vcf-midatlantic <
vcf-midatlantic at lists.vcfed.org> wrote:

> Hi Everyone,
> As discussed and approved, I took the PowerPC OS/2 machine and will
> get that to Connor. Either he'll fix it at the workshop or he will
> take it home, fix it, and bring it back to the July workshop. I'll
> communicate here either way.

Ian wasn't able to work in this machine as he had other projects that he
was working on and ran out of time. So as per Adam and Ian, I took it back
to the VCF museum for him to work on at the next VCF workshop which is July
30 & 31.
Visitors were turning on the PowerPC when it didn't work. Don't know if
this could damage it by turning it on and off, but it frustrated the
visitors with a non operational machine. So the docents put the ENIAC
picture in front of the monitor until the machines are repaired.

> I'm bringing three recently donated 486 class machines to the System
> Source Workshop. One is for my project of building a DesqView machine
> (which may never become an exhibit - just a fun project for me).
> Hopefully either Dean or Alex (or both) can take one or both of the
> other machines on for the Linux 1992 exhibit.

That sounds great!

> I'm a bit confused by the changes in the museum, I initially thought
> the Pong machine was missing, but realized it is now hidden. I'm

The Pong machine has been great to have. Lots of interest by visitors and
they find it enjoyable. The docents felt that putting it at the end of the
tour was a sort of reward at the end of the tour. They have all given a lot
of positive feedback about this idea. Visitors had a lot of fun playing the

> concerned that this might upset one of our most important volunteers
> and one of the owners of the machine, Bill Lange, and I don't quite
> understand why it was done without discussion. Can someone enlighten
> me? Hopefully before Bill sees it. At the very least, I hope we can
> communicate with him before he visits again.

Of course. As per discussion and approval by the Steering Committee on May
10, 2022 they agreed with my plan to realign the artifacts in the museum
back to the original chronological order. In recent years machines placed
in the museum were out of order and confusing to the docents. It was
difficult to have an organized tour for new docents with the order in a
non chronological order. Right after VCF East I got back to recruiting
docents and improving the museum. I added four new docents to the museum:
Rick Lewis, Bart Hirst, Ian Litchfield and Doug Crawford. I've since given
them training, made a schedule and helped to plan the numerous school and
other group tours (mostly on Wednesdays) that we had in May and June. When
doing organized tours of 15 people at a time it became frustrating for the
docents to give tours with machines that were out of order chronologically.
The docents asked for my help and I asked the Steering Committee and they
approved. The docents did the work and now things look very well laid out.
This is in line with the unstated museum mission which is implied by the
original "Everything on this wall fits into your pocket" and the present
"Processor exhibit". These exhibits told the story of the evolution of
computers. Our museum starts with the history of the ENIAC through 1995ish.

Before Fox Nation came to do filming of our museum, I got emergency
approval from the Steering Committee for the addition of signs by the
artifacts. They are simply 4" x 6" note cards printed with information and
put in a plastic photo holder and then velcroed. to the plastic tarp next
to the artifact. The information on the signs is half technical and half
"story". So it is good for all types of visitors. There is also the year
the artifact came out. This is great because the artifacts were without
signs for years. I had formed a curation discussion group which gave me
this idea about the signs. We also added the Data General to fill the empty
spot left by the StorageTek that was taken back by Dave McGuire.

Another improvement approved by the Steering Committee was the lowering of
the shelves of the artifact carts. The docents noticed that children had a
difficult time reaching the keyboards, so lowering the shelves (both top
and bottom) by about 3 or 4 inches helped them to be able to use them more
easily. Not so easy for 6' 4" people like me, but hey I'm above average
height and I can sit on a stool to operate them. We see children able to
use the machines a lot more easily.

Rick Lewis came up with note cards with simple instructions and a short
BASIC program for tour members to enter. This is mostly for children, and
they seemed to really like the hands-on aspect. We have had a lot of ideas
on how to improve tours in our docent groups.

There was also the long ago approved by the Steering Committee replacement
of wheels to flat bottoms to the stools in the museum. It was a safety
hazard when children sat on them and nearly fell backwards or forwards.
We've had many near accidents with children and those stools.

> The Zenith machine is pinch hitting for the Mega STe for now (as I
> found it) and I dropped off a period correct speaker box for the Mega
> STe on loan from Dean so when the Mega STe returns (any day now, I
> understand) we will have sound for the MIDI demo. I trust we won't
> need a vote to put the Mega STe back in, but let me know if we need to
> do so. The former Zenith table is empty, which is a perfect
> opportunity to put in the Micro VAX (Hi Dave!). VMS lives!

Yes. Since there was only an Atari monitor sitting there while the Mega STE
was being repaired I put the Atari monitor back in the box below and the
Zenith in its place.
After the Mega STE was repaired and returned, the plan was to take out the
Zenith and put it in the museum docent office area for disk duplication.

> As I found things, the Data General was moved over near the Wang,
> which makes sense to me, but just so everyone knows. The 1992 exhibit
> was moved under the Atari (regular) ST and VIC-20, which confuses me.

Everything was made chronological. The 1992 was moved from the 1974-1976
homebrew section to the 1992 section.

> The mouse exhibit was moved where the Pong machine used to be, which
> I'm ambivalent about.

There was a rotation Data General to Mouse, Mouse to Pong, Pong to Data

> The featured exhibit quite possibly will become the Franklin Red
> Lightning prototype Tony is going to donate. I suggest we hold off
> until next week on any motions so we can see if the OS/2 PowerPC box
> is going to be resurrected this weekend.

Sounds good.

> The warehouse is basically as it was after East although I did grab a

Yes. The only thing that I have been doing is organizing VCF East stuff in
there with lots more work to be done with that. Hope to get it done before
it gets too hot.

> piece of the UNIVAC that was accidentally left by System Source. Dave
> and I are on the look out for a PDP-11 clone in a nondescript carrying
> case, so if anyone sees such a thing, let us know.

Take care everyone!

Jeff Brace

> Best wishes,
>      -Adam

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