Museum sought to house computer collection

Computer enthusiast Clinton Rowe in one of the several rooms used in his Dunedin home to house his retro electronics collection. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Computer enthusiast Clinton Rowe in one of the several rooms used in his Dunedin home to house his retro electronics collection. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A Dunedin man has spent more than $100,000 on 1980s electronics and wants internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom to finance a museum to exhibit the collection.

Otago Girls' High School IT technician Clinton Rowe (39) said he would like a museum built in Dunedin to exhibit the computers, game consoles, televisions and other 1980s electronics he had collected in the past seven years.

''The museum will be part retro and part historic.''

Most obsolete computers were dumped in landfill but the design of 1980s electronics was art for display, he said.

The electronics had a unique look and design before electronics in the 1990s began looking similar, Mr Rowe said.

The collection filled five rooms of his Dunedin home and ranged from a Commodore Pet to an Amiga 500, he said.

He collected several of the same model of computer and consoles so an educational laboratory demonstration wing could be built at the museum. Most of his collection had been bought online. He recently purchased a New Zealand-made Poly computer for $1300, ''which was probably five times more than what it was worth''.

The Poly computer sold well in New Zealand until ''Apple edged them out with predatory pricing'', Mr Rowe said.

He estimated he had spent more than $100,000 on the collection, with more than $10,000 of that on postage because most of the sellers were from the North Island. The size of the collection meant he had to live alone because there was no room for flatmates and the cost of the collection meant he had postponed renovations on his house. However, he had never rued starting the collection, he said.

''My only regret will be if the museum never pans out.''

He emailed Mr Dotcom about financing the museum earlier this week and was waiting on a reply from the ''social crusader'', he said.

- shawn.mcavinue@odt.co.nz

Why Mr Dotcom?

Te Jackle: Okay, I will bite but it is pretty hard to respond to such rhetoric and pre-made up conclusions.  At this stage I consider the most realistic option is to find private funding. Computer museums around the world haved struggled to get any public funding as till now I think the need and importance of preserving a country's technological and computing history has not been understood. I also believe we need an alternative to the school curriculum for educating about technology. 

Priorities

DaveM nowhere have I said he wants to spend my money, the article clearly points out he wants someone else to spend theirs! 

Basic exercise in prorities he has a hobby at the expense of a home reno then wants someone else to cough up so he get in tenants so he can pay for his renovation!

Good on him

Have you been on the killjoy pills Te Jackle? He hasn't spent your money. The world would be a poorer place without enthusiastic collectors of diverse interests.

I think it would be great

I think it would be great idea to have the opportunity to access another bit of history reminding today's children what yesterday's children used to do.  Especially consider the fast growing nature of computers it's nice to remind kids that once upon a time we sat on the computer for over an hour loading a tape into an amstrad before we could use it, I think playing outside for an hour until a game had loaded is an unknown concept to kids now days.  Why not Kim Dotcom? or the Council and the local early settlers museum adding a wing on for a bit of history that is a vital part of the future.  My hat goes off to you for thinking of someone other than yourself and offering this opportunity to the public if it gets off the ground - good luck!

What the ....

And why should Mr Dotcome finance your museum? This sounds like your hobby not his, perhaps you need to sort your priorities instead of blowing all your money on un-useable junk in the hope someone will give up theirs for your hobby. A roof over your head or a house full of junk.

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