UK Computer Museum faces closure

The British Computer Museum is looking for a new home after learning it will shortly lose its premises at the University of Bath in Swindon
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

The Museum of Computing faces closure after the landlords of its premises in Swindon announced that they were moving out. The Museum has less than a year to find suitable new premises.

Founded in 2003, the museum relies on donations and the hard work of volunteers to keep intact a collection of some 2,000 computers, including landmark British systems such as the Acorn Electron and the Sinclair Spectrum, and 2,500 software packages.

"We have been hanging on here in the hope that something would turn up, but now it is getting urgent," said Jeremy Holt, who is chairman of the museum and an IT solicitor. "Premises are the problem."

The museum sits in premises provided freely by the University of Bath in Swindon and, with only small expenses, gets some income from a sponsorship deal with Intel. "We would not survive but for the work of volunteers," Holt told ZDNet.co.uk, "and so the museum, as an entity, has always been efficient."

However, the university will soon be closing the campus that houses the museum, and withdrawing from Swindon.

Even though the museum is facing closure, Holt is optimistic for the future. "We just need to find that one sponsor who can make a difference and it is not a lot of money we are looking for," he said.

The majority of the exhibits at the museum have been contributed freely by individuals and organisations, and cover a history of computing in the UK.

Over 85 percent of the computers at the museum are in working order, according to the museum. It is now looking for premises, preferably in the Swindon area, and needs "75m² [800 square feet] of exhibition space, disabled access and 100m² [1,075 square feet] of storage space".

Anyone who can help should contact the museum at its premises (Museum of Computing, University of Bath in Swindon, Oakfield Campus, Marlowe Avenue, Swindon, SN3 3JR) or  via email at the museum.

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