It’s only fitting that the technology used to do museum research and administer collections eventually becomes an artifact itself. In the I.T. department we are reminded of this on a daily basis as our office constantly takes in broken and antiquated computers and either fixes or replaces them for museum staff. We will occasionally see a computer which pre-dates the millennium but as long as I’ve been here I haven’t seen something as old and well preserved as what we uncovered last week.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, we are in the middle of some office migrations due to the upgrade of our Air Conditioning systems. Last week the IT department received two large metal storage cabinets from an office in the process of moving in which we discovered a very primitive portable computer.
The Radio Shack Radio Shack TRS-80 Model 100 was released in 1983 at an introductory price of $1099 and was one of the first “notebook style” computers. It sported a 2.4mhz processor, 32k of RAM and ran on 4 AA batteries with a run time of up to 20 hours and up to 30 days of data retention in terms of memory. For those of you who do not speak geek a typical computer today is thousands of times more powerful than this computer.
At this point we haven’t been able to nail down who used the computer or what kind of work was done on it but we are certainly happy to add it to our collection of technological relic’s.