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Pay a visit to Cambridge’s computer museum (ianvisits.co.uk)
104 points by edward 46 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 20 comments

The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park is well worth a visit, too!

Yes go there but be aware of a slight subtlety.

Although the National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) is inside Bletchely park. It is a different organisation.

TNMOC has all the interesting computers and the Bletchely park trust has the land and buildings.

There is still a political battle going on between the two (which is sad). They put fences around TNMOC as though to keep people from wandering in there.

- I am a TNMOC member

Yep, those fences are awful. You need to essentially walk through a car park and keep going to find TNMOC.

But it is wonderful. Far better than next door, to be honest.

Absolutely! I was just there a few weeks ago and I had the best time. There's displays of equipment from the 60's - today, but also several rooms with wartime electromechanical and electrical machines used by Bletchley Park to break Enigma and Lorenz. Incredible!

I second this. The most amazing thing to me is that they still keep many of those really old machines and peripherals: the Colossus and more, up and running.

It's one thing to see those historic computers on display, it's a whole new level seeing them running, producing heat and noise!

That colossus is a replica, the original machines were all destroyed

That's true. I forgot that. Still impressive to see live action though.

Well worth a visit if you're in or around Cambridge.

Huge props to the person in charge when we visited for letting us upstairs to their usually closed storage space with hundreds of old games, magazines, and boxes of old tech.

I went 2-3 years ago and really enjoyed it, there is so much to see and they have a lot of unusual exhibits.

My main gripe, which I did feed back at the time, was they had a wide selection of vintage computers and consoles running but there were no instructions. It’s a long time since I’d used any of them and had forgotten much of even the basics,;they also had Spectrum with the SSD type libraries but again no instructions on how to load and use the games. That meant you could look at them, try and type a couple of things in and hope you get lucky, then move on to the next item feeling frustrated.

The museum is continually evolving so I hope that something has been done to help what I felt was a fairly big shortcoming. I appreciate it’s a lot of work creating cue-cards for each one but as you’re encouraged to have a play around it would greatly add to the experience.

I run a similar, albeit way smaller exhibit here in Vienna, and we are working on small instruction booklets we can give visitors who want to type things in and play with things .. perhaps I should make these available somehow when we're finished.

That said, its quite an adventure to return to that era of computing and re-discover all the old tricks. On some of these machines, there are even still new graphics modes and other features being uncovered by avid hackers. 8-bit machines are still alive!

Yeah - felt similar when I visited. Inexplicably the only command from spectrum days I could still remember was POKE 23609,100 which switched on the keyboard beep!

Also really feels like they need a purpose built building - it's housed in an old car showroom at the moment.

They should provide a URL and QR code linking to a site where you can read/download the instruction manuals for the computer, OS, and software on your phone.

That would be somewhat easier than having to use google to search for them, which is what I normally do.

Most old games are hard to play without instructions, but the instruction manuals tend to be detailed and also fun to read.

(As an aside: it's always exciting when I find a modern game that includes a printed instruction manual!)

I visited several years ago, it's a real hidden gem. Spent a fun hour or so implementing a prime sieve on a BBC BASIC computer - an adventure for someone in their early thirties! My friend and I also banged our heads against that old text-based Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy game, trying but failing to get even as far as getting onto the space ship. At the other end of the spectrum it was also my first experience of a VR helmet.

If you're in the Portsmouth, UK area, Portsmouth Museum also has a couple of rooms given over to old games consoles from the 1980s onwards. Some are still running and you can play on them.

Amazing; I'm actually planning to be there in a few weeks so will check it out. Thanks!

Great! .. this make me think about a missing info on geek/nerd/techie touristic points of interest, like that kind of destination you could include when go on vacation with your family

Wikivoyage has content that may be relevant to your interests:


See also the 'related topics' section.

I swear i came across a "tour guide for engineers" somewhere that was similar to this, but i can't find it now.

You might be interesting in "The Geek Atlas" by JGC


The register has done the occasional Geeks Guide Its very UK centric Hanslope Park (as mentioned in the laundry files) etc


Cambridge, UK. I clicked expecting Cambridge, Massachusetts. Whoops!

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