Computer Conservation and Museums: Fight or Flight?

Speaker: Doron Swade
Date: Thu 16th October 2014
Time: 14:30

Fellows Library of the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD

About the seminar

The occasion of this presentation is the 25th anniversary of the Computer Conservation Society (CCS). The conception of the society will be revisited, and the circumstances of its creation in 1989 recounted.

Restoration and reconstructions of early computers have been a signature feature of the Society´s programme. Yet not everyone is convinced of the social and historical utility of these activities. The value of restorations and reconstructions to the process of history, to society and to museums is reviewed, and overlaps in the interests of these three possible beneficiaries considered.

Finally, the current state of the Society is reviewed and a prognosis for its future offered.

About the speaker

Doron Swade is an historian of computing. He was formerly a hardware designer, curator of computing, and Assistant Director & Head of Collections at the Science Museum. While curator of computing at the Science Museum he conceived and founded the Computer Conservation Society 1989. He is a leading authority on Charles Babbage and masterminded the construction of Difference Engine No. 2, the first Babbage engine built to original designs.

He has written three books (one co-authored) and many articles on history of computing and on curatorship. In 2009 he was awarded an MBE for services to history of computing. He is currently at Royal Holloway University of London researching Babbage's Analytical Engine.

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