Computers & Business Machines
Imagine the loss, 100 years from now, if museums hadn't begun preserving the artifacts of the computer age. The last few decades offer proof positive of why museums must collect continuously—to document technological and social transformations already underway.
The museum's collections contain mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers, and handheld devices. Computers range from the pioneering ENIAC to microcomputers like the Altair and the Apple I. A Cray2 supercomputer is part of the collections, along with one of the towers of IBM's Deep Blue, the computer that defeated reigning champion Garry Kasparov in a chess match in 1997. Computer components and peripherals, games, software, manuals, and other documents are part of the collections. Some of the instruments of business include adding machines, calculators, typewriters, dictating machines, fax machines, cash registers, and photocopiers
- This group of five educational computer programs was developed for the Commodore 64 during the 1980s. Each program has its original box, the 5 ¼” software diskettes, and the user manual.
- Word Shuttle
- This word processing program was released in 1985 and included a 42-page user guide and two keyboard overlays. Word Shuttle was the official word processor of the Young Astronaut Program which operated between 1984 and 2004. The objective of this international educational curriculum was to promote greater interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) through space-themed activities, experiments, and conferences.
- Sky Travel
- This astronomy program, designed for persons ages 12 and up, was released in 1984 and included a 138-page manual. It provided an interactive guided tour of the universe—in the past, present, and future. The universe model could show the location of more than 1,200 stars, 88 constellations, 8 planets, deep sky objects, and the (then) future appearance (1986) of Halley’s comet. The program had four basic modes: map, set, sky, and chart. Map was used to select the location on Earth; month, day, year, and time were determined in set; optional displays were chosen in sky; and chart was used to project the sky on a celestial sphere with coordinate lines for creating, viewing, and printing your own star charts.
- JUST IMAGINE…
- This creative writing program, released in 1984 for individuals of all ages, included a 20-page manual. The user could create colorful animated stories by selecting up to three animated characters from the twenty-five provided, choosing one of nine backgrounds, and a few of the 48 stationary objects. The author then wrote a story to match the selected graphics. While different parts of the program loaded it displayed random trivia facts from the 300 stored on the diskette. The story could be played back and saved to diskette. The introduction in the manual states that “JUST IMAGINE… is another example of Commodore’s commitment to excellence-in-education through technology.”
- Reading Professor
- This reading program, released in 1984, was designed to teach reading skills to high school-age students as well as adults. Included with the two software diskettes was a 40-page user guide. The program provided a series of ten 20-minute lessons to increase reading speed and improve comprehension by presenting specific techniques for eliminating bad reading habits and developing new skills. It has a library of reading materials with three reading levels--High School, College and Adult, and Professional--each level with 32 reading selections. The program used seven types of exercises to monitor and log progress and success.
- Typing Professor
- This typing program, released in 1984 for individuals ages 12 and up, included a 20-page manual, two cassettes for use with a Commodore 16, and a diskette for use with either a Commodore 64 or Commodore Plus/4.
- Students could learn the basics of touch typing or learn to improve their typing speed. The program had 19 exercises which increased in difficulty. Each exercise contained a score chart that calculated and recorded the number of errors, error rate, and typing speed. The exercises were timed and the student could not exceed the acceptable error rate before beginning the next exercise. The allowed error rate started at 4% for lesson 1 and decreased to 1% for lessons 16-19. The goal for lesson 19 was 35 words per minute with a less than 1% error rate.
- Date made
- ca 1984
- Commodore Business Machines, Inc.
- ID Number
- catalog number
- accession number
- Data Source
- National Museum of American History