HRH Duke of Kent Visits The Museum of Computing
Posted: 19/04/2007 16:59:55
On Thursday 12th April, the Museum of Computing in Swindon welcomed its first royal visitor. His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent spent nearly forty minutes reviewing highlights of the Museum's three thousand strong collection, 70% of which are in working order. The Duke of Kent and the Lord Lieutenant of Wiltshire met representatives of sponsors Intel and were guided round the exhibition by Museum founder Jeremy Holt and Curator Simon Webb who has an extensive knowledge of computers from the 1970's to the present day.
To start with, The Duke of Kent was taken through the 'Pong to Playstation'
exhibition - a History of the Games Console. Nine year old Sharner Newell and ten year old Jordan Barrow were engrossed in Super Mario Kart on a Nintendo 64 games console which the Duke of Kent recognised.
A selection of calculators were on show from an exhibition opened by Sir Clive Sinclair last year and the Duke of Kent showed particular interest in an early form of cylindrical slide rule called the OTIS King. He also paused to examine the HP 41 which was the first calculator used on the space shuttle.
His Royal Highness then reviewed a significant collection of 1980's home computers demonstrating the diversity of brand names and product designs that existed before IBM established supremacy in personal computers.
'Computers at Work' showed the evolution of the desktop PC in the office environment with its wide variety of hardware and software platforms.
To round off the Duke of Kent's trip down memory lane His Royal Highness saw mobile computers from the early 1980's nicknamed 'luggables' because they weigh in at 12 kilos (the same weight as a Royal Corgi or a car battery). The very latest lightweight TREO Smartphone on display is a combined personal computer and mobile phone.
On his guided tour, HRH Duke of Kent was introduced to the Museum's principal sponsors Intel, represented by Managing Director UK, John Woodget, and Technical Marketing Engineer Jim Murray, accompanied by Rhona Jack from co-sponsors Blue Click PR. According to John Woodget 'When you consider that today#146;s Intel chips have 1.5 billion transistors and can achieve 80 processors on one piece of silicon, you can see there have been huge changes in twenty years. It is wonderful that His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent has chosen to visit this place which shows the history of computing from Day One. He seemed really interested and recognised today's technology will fast become tomorrow's history!'
HRH Duke of Kent greeted representatives of the twenty-strong team of volunteers before signing the Museum's Visitors Book. Before departing, he asked Jeremy Holt how the Museum of Computing came into being. Jeremy recounted that thirteen years of perseverance led to the establishment of the only dedicated Computer Museum in the UK, located here in the M4's 'Silicon Valley'. Jeremy was also instrumental in helping bring the University of Bath to Swindon and they now host the Museum in their Oakfield Campus in Swindon. Jeremy commented 'We understand that HRH Duke of Kent is quite selective about the venues he chooses to visit and therefore The Museum of Computing is honoured that he has made a special trip here today. He seemed genuinely interested and it is encouraging to
see that the hard work of our volunteers was so well appreciated.'
The Museum of Computing loans out working exhibits to commemorate special occasions in the IT calendar which is how the Duke of Kent first met curator Simon Webb at the opening of the British Computer Society's new headquarters in Swindon.
The museum is a not for profit organisation manned by volunteers and situated in the University of Bath in Swindon. A new exhibition is launched every six months and if you would like to be notified of forthcoming events see www.museum-of-computing.org.uk Opening hours are Monday to Friday 10:00 to 16:00 (the same as the University Library). On Saturdays from 09:00 to 13:00 volunteers are on hand to explain more about the exhibits and bring the history to life with hands-on demonstrations.
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