Visual Description | The Ralph Baer Workshop
The Ralph Baer Workshop is the Landmark Object on the first floor in the west wing. The workshop sits on a large, wood-finished base. As you enter from the 1 West gateway, the display is comprised of a wood-finished wall on the left, with a video screen in a silver frame mounted on it, and then a large glass case with a desk and workspace on the right. The reader rail in front of the case with the desk inside has information about the workshop and shows a photo of Ralph Baer sitting at the same desk in the workshop when it was at his home. On the video monitor to the left of the workshop, an early video game developed by Baer is shown. The screen has a green background that is divided vertically by a while line in the center and a small white square bounces back and forth between two moveable white squares on opposite sides of the line in a manner similar to the sport table tennis. There’s a small glass case with a white base in front of the video screen. Inside the case is a video game system called “The Brown Box,” one of Baer’s inventions. It is made with aluminum, vinyl, and wood veneer, so that the pieces look like wooden boxes. It has a larger central component, and two controllers. The controllers have black twist knobs, and the functions of different knobs and connections are labelled with embossed labelling tape that is black with white letters.
The desk in the exhibit is long and L-shaped, is made of dark, tan colored wood, and is mounted to the back wall of the exhibit case, which represents the wall of the workshop in Ralph Baer’s home. The short end of the L is on the left side of the desk as you face it, and a black laptop sits on a movable shelf that comes out from under that part of the desk. Framed certificates are on the wall above. One certificate reads: “The National Medal of Technology” award. Another one reads “The National Inventor Hall of Fame.” The corner of the desk has a black, bendable, and retractable magnifying light on it. On the surface of the desk concentrated in the corner are storage cases for hardware and parts that have green sides and clear fronts. On top of one of the green storage cases is an additional stack of five cobalt blue storage containers. The surface of the desk is covered in evidence of Baer’s work such as various tools and prototypes featuring dolls playing the piano and the drums.
The chair in front of the desk has a tan, cable-knit cardigan draped over it, as if Baer had just stepped away from his workshop for a moment. The long side of the desk is supported underneath by a tan, metal filing cabinet with two drawers. Next to the filing cabinet is a box for a video game system called Magnavox Odyssey. There are three long, brown shelves above the long side of the desk. The top shelf has a brown teddy bear in a blue box, a card, and the box for an electronic game called Simon. There is also a stuffed toy, a light, a blue rabbit, and a big brown teddy bear. On the middle shelf, there are many books on electronics, technology, CD-ROM, data books, and an audio encyclopedia. There’s also a brown teddy bear with a red bow tie that is holding the United States Flag, a postcard, a Father's Day card, a Charlie Brown figure, a framed picture of Baer with co-workers, and a huge brown teddy bear with glasses on.
The bottom shelf contains blue and yellow books. The topics are micro data, physics, electronics, and engineering. There is a Simon game with red, green, blue, and yellow buttons. Other objects include a Batman figure, a Barbie doll with a pink vanity set, a small frame with a child’s picture, and a picture of Baer’s family.
There is a smaller shelf below the bottom shelf that is just on the right side, and has more pictures, a white organizer, a white radio, and a black cassette tape player. There is also a gold ink pen set with a marble stand and a silver Panasonic radio.
You can walk behind the display. On the back side of the display of the desk is a graphic treatment featuring a series of reproductions of various patent model drawings. On the back side behind the wood-finished wall is a recreation of the exterior entry to Baer’s basement workshop featuring a brick wall and bright red door.