The World of the PC
Travel in time from the present to what is said to be the very first personal computer. Before going back in time, experience today's computer interactivity with flames and colors, the maker movement and more. How about an augmented reality game and an intelligent vanity mirror? Then, the exploration into the past begins with a comparison of storage capacity, progression of speed and size decreases over the years.
Next, explore the magical world of games. Games were, perhaps, the biggest influence for bringing the computer into the home. Sit right down and play some of the early games released for the Nintendo and Sega and Atari and TI. Remember the Commodore 64? Also, meet the women of the 80s in gaming.
Experience the original IBM PC and a large shelving display of more than a decade of computer development from a do-it-yourself Heathkit and other hobbyist computers to many early retail machines and the three crowns of personal computing -- Apple II, TRS-80 and Commodore PET.
Across from the vintage computers is another shelving exhibit for the history of calculating – from a calculator to Microsoft Excel and with a large progression of items in between -- and word processing, from an early electric typewriter and moving through to Microsoft Word.
A Microsoft corner features a number of unique items, including the first Microsoft product and a BASIC printed manual directing phone calls for technical support to Paul Allen or Bill Gates. The corner has other early language products as well as notes from the 70s and 80s, including a handwritten note by Gates about an operating system.
An exhibit of the Altair 8800 is intertwined with a fascinating story about a 1975 edition of Popular Electronics magazine, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, MITS, Ed Roberts and the beginning of Microsoft. The exploration of homebrew computing continues with the somewhat rare Mark-8 and SCELBI computers and their legends.
Also shown and explained are other computers and components prior to the microprocessor, some with a history almost forgotten. What was the PDP-8 claim to fame? What is the story behind the Datapoint 2200 and Intel?
The final area is a round red shrine dedicated to what the exhibit calls the first personal computer, the Kenbak-1, developed in 1971. It had a row of push button switches on the front and series of lights for the output.
There are hundreds more products, facts and tales to see and hear. Enjoy exploring the entire 7,600 square feet PC exhibit space!
This exhibit features chosen artifacts from the Mimms Collection. Lonnie Mimms is an avid collector of personal computers and related products. He has amassed one of the largest private collections of early personal computers in the U.S.