Saturday, September 13, 2014

Vintage Computers -Graduate Independent Study at "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"

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We are delighted to be working with Grayson Van Beuren in a Virginia Tech -  Graduate Independent Study program at the museum. Grayson became interested in doing a study after seeing the "Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum"  article in the Roanoke times by  Catherine Van Noy.  Grayson also visited our museum during open house last month.  Grayson has started his project  by making several of our  old computers operational and encouraging folks to give the operating historic computers a try.

Click on photo to enlarge
Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
L-R Grayson Van Beuren, David Larsen-Curator
Here is Grayson's Study plan.
Grayson Van Beuren
Material Culture and Humanities
Computers and Museums Material Culture Project
Independent Study Proposal

This independent study’s purpose is to explore the history of the electronic computer through its material culture. It also aims to facilitate a better understanding of the unique preservation and presentation problems surrounding this delicate and largely esoteric field of material culture.                                                          

Grayson Van Beuren tells about his Independent Study at the museum

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
L-R Emily Wilson -Assistant Curator,
 Grayson Van Beuren
The independent study will occur through a partnership with the Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum in Floyd, Virginia. The museum’s founder, retired instructor of instrumentation at Virginia Tech David Larsen, has agreed to host a part of the IS. The museum’s collection represents forty years of collecting on the part of Mr. Larsen. From the museum website:

Mr. Larsen’s expertise in the field of microcomputers, and especially the collection and preservation of microcomputers, should make this a valuable independent study for the student.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum
Grayson with Apple 1 computer project

The independent study will be comprised of two parts: weekly visits to the museum of three to four hours during which the student will act as an intern, learning about the presentation and preservation of computer material culture in the process, and outside research into the history of the preservation of computer hardware and other forms of material culture associated with the computing field. These two parts of the study will culminate in the student writing a 10-15 page paper summing up his experiences at the Bugbook and examining the problems surrounding preservation and presentation of computer material culture in museums and other historic institutions.

Bugbook Historical Microcomputer Museum.
Nathan, Conette, Gaynell Larsen, David Larsen (curator)

We are getting more visitors in the museum every day. On the left is Nathan and Anat Oster from Israel - Saturday 9-13-14. Nathan is a lawyer and Dr. Oster is Head of  Computer Science department, Beit Berl Collage.  They were very enthusiastic about our museum display. Their work in Israel sounds real interesting and we may visit them in the future.

David Larsen
The curators here at the museum are looking forward to working with Grayson. I am sure we will all learn from this independent study.

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