Retro Computer Museum opening celebrates move

A tiny fraction of the collections at the RCM in Leicester (pic Retro Computer Museum)
A tiny fraction of the collections at the RCM in Leicester (pic Retro Computer Museum)

A popular Leicester museum specialising in the history of computing has moved – and is celebrating with a special Open Weekend this Saturday and Sunday!

The move, which is something of a ‘quantum leap’ for both the Retro Computer Museum and its staff alike, is to more spacious premises nearby, and reflects the success of the fast-growing establishment, whose volunteers are often to be seen showing off some of the stars of the Museum’s collections at retro events up and down the UK.

Entrance to the Troon Way Business Centre (pic RCM)
Entrance to the Troon Way Business Centre (pic RCM)

The Museum, which transferred its vast number of exhibits, plus furniture, equipment and storage, from its previous accommodation at the Troon Way Business Centre in January, now has more room to breathe at Unit A of the Humberstone Lane centre – thanks to the sterling efforts of volunteer staff and supporters.

Congratulations – and celebrations

Congratulations are therefore now due – and to celebrate the move, the Museum is holding an OPEN WEEKEND on Saturday 6th – Sunday 7th February 2016, from 10am-6.30pm.

Curator and Museum organiser Andy Spencer said about the event:

“Just pop along any time and say hello! This weekend  is completely free and on us. Yep! You read that correctly. There will be over 40 systems all ready to play on and use – no restrictions! Why not bring the family? – surely there is something here for everybody. All the classics – fully playable! We look forward to welcoming you!”

RCM Open Weekend handbill - click to enlarge
RCM Open Weekend handbill – click to enlarge
Well worth your support
Andy Spencer (right) and his Retro Computer Museum team brought a critical mass of historic home computers and consoles to Recursion 2015
Andy Spencer (right) and his Retro Computer Museum team brought a critical mass of historic home computers and consoles to Recursion 2015

The Retro Computer Museum is a registered charity dedicated to the benefit of the public for the preservation, display and public experience of computer and console systems from the 1960’s onwards.

Their main focus is on systems that were in use in the home, rather than big computer systems and mainframes of early computer development. Accordingly, they have systems ranging from the early Pong consoles through the Sega and Nintendo console wars and the home computers of the ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64s and Amigas.

The RCM aims to provide Retro Gaming and Computing events and access to retro computer equipment for educational visits and tours. The Retro Computer Museum has held seven Retro Gaming events of its own to date, including partnership events with Snibston Discovery Museum. The Retro Computer Museum has also made appearances including the 2010 Vintage Computer Festival in Bletchley Park, Recursion 2015 and participating in the 2010 EuroCon event in Manchester with a line-up of British computers.

The Museum is a fascinating and friendly place, and a worthy cause for your donations of old hardware, software, books – and perhaps a little cash to help keep things going! So if you really do enjoy yourself there this weekend (and we’re sure you will) a donation to the museum would be greatly appreciated – but is not compulsory.

Contact

The Museum’s full address and contact details are:

Unit A, Troon Way Business Centre,
Humberstone Lane, Leicester LE4 9HA
Mobile: 07519 816 283

Email: info@retrocomputermuseum.co.uk
Web: www.retrocomputermuseum.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RetroComputerMuseum/

Registered Charity No. 1146912

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Young students receive prizes in honour of Ada

Ada competition winners meet Colossus operators Margaret O’Connell and Irene Dixon (pic TNMOC)
Ada competition winners meet Colossus operators Margaret O’Connell and Irene Dixon (pic TNMOC)

Three winners of the Fascinating Ada Competition designed to inspire female students about careers in computing have received their prizes at Oxford University and their entries have now been published online.

At the Ada Lovelace Symposium, marking the bicentenary of the person widely acclaimed as the creator of the first-ever computer program, three young students aged between 5 and 18 received their prizes from two of the first operators of Colossus, the World War II code-breaking computer.

Competition

TNMOC sign 2

The competition, run by The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) and the University of Oxford, in conjunction with cs4fn at Queen Mary University of London, asked girls what they would like to communicate to Ada Lovelace about twenty-first century technology. More than 250 entries were received and judged by a prestigious panel of women involved in computing today.

A parallel competition, with a similar judging panel, was also run in the USA by the Computer History Museum and today some of its entries are also published online.

Entries to the UK competition could be almost in any format and they ranged from hand-written letters, a poem and a song to emails, PowerPoint presentations, YouTube videos and other formats.

Ada Maisie Hards, aged 5, presented a series of photographs and captions showing how much computing technology has pervaded our everyday lives – and how Ada was the inspiration for her own name.

Amelia Doran won the 13-15 age group with an animated three-minute video explaining computing and highlighting some of the remarkable ways that it has changed our lives, but not losing sight of some of the negative implications of today’s technology.

Naimh Owens, winning the 16-18 age group, opted for a traditional letter to express lyrically her thoughts about today’s world “where people can communicate, delegate, deliberate and fascinate with technology”, but how she thinks Ada Lovelace would implore people to use technology to “discover and innovate … [but] not define us.”

Judges with a Colossal reputation!
Part of the Colossus gallery (pic TNMOC)
Part of the Colossus gallery (pic TNMOC)

The judging panel comprised operators of the very first Colossus computer, Margaret O’Connell and Irene Dixon, computer scientists Sophie Wilson and Professor Ursula Martin, journalist Maggie Philbin, author Betty Toole, animator/cartoonist Sydney Padua and Heinz Nixdorf Museum curator Doreen Hartmann. Shortlisting was undertaken by TNMOC volunteers led by Jill Clarke.

The prizes included tablet computers, Ada Lovelace books, and visits to The National Museum of Computing. We are very grateful to the sponsors of the UK prizes: Dixons Carphone, Penguin Random House, Oxford University and cs4fn.

Read entries online

TNMOC logoComputer History Museum logo

A selection of entries from the UK and US competitions are now available online on the TNMOC website and on the Computer History Museum website.

All the UK winners are as follows:

Age 13 and Under
1st Ada Maisie Hards
2nd Chandani Phelps
3rd Preetam Panesar

Age 13-15
1st Amelia Doran
2nd Alice Wilkening
3rd Matilda Ruth Joyce

Age 16-18
1st Niamh Owens
2nd Melissa Lee
3rd Mathusha Mohan

Groups

1st Amelie McKenna, Safaa Mirza, and Rebecca Allen from Stroud High School
2nd Elizabeth Peers, Rebecca Harry and Eleanor Kelly from Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Derbyshire
3rd Riya Stephen, Merin Benny, Ashlin Roy and Diana Sabu from St Anthony’s Girls Catholic Academy

Continue reading Young students receive prizes in honour of Ada