Kvarner newsletter / no 1

New tourist attraction in Rijeka
The new Museum of Computers and Calculators

A new tourist attraction has recently been opened in Rijeka – the Museum of Computers and Calculators. This is a unique project and the first of its kind in Europe, offering an insight into the technological revolution and development of computers from their beginning to the present day.

The authors have tried to avoid the word “museum” by calling this project a “retro computer club” with a permanent exhibition where interested visitors can learn more about the earliest examples of this technological industry.

The museum (or the retro computer club, as the authors like to describe it) is called “Peek and Poke” and has an educational character as visitors can “try out” the exhibits, which provide younger generations with the potential of getting to know older types of computers that are no longer available on the market.
The exhibition displays numerous types of old computers such as Apple II, the model on which members of older generations acquired their first computing experiences and skills. Particularly interesting are some Croatian models such as Galeb, made in the mid-1980s in Varaždin, or Orao, a typical school computer of the same time in Croatia.

Most valuable exhibits include the Interact, made in 1978, and Hektor, made by students at a British university, about which there is no further information available. Also worth mentioning is a computer identical to the one used by Andy Warhol to create the computer-generated portrait of the singer Debbie Harry.

The Museum has so far collected some 1,000 exhibits – computers and calculators – and several surprises. One such surprise is without doubt the computer made by the Phillips Company and which won a NASA competition on the occasion of a Space Shuttle launch. The computer was designed to resemble an astronaut’s helmet with a visor.