DataArt opened IT museum, an online museum about information technology history in the USSR and Eastern European countries
Great news for those who love vintage equipment and adore industrial design: DataArt opened an online museum dedicated to information technology history in the USSR and Eastern European countries.
The museum collection — almost 400 items — was gathered from the gifts of our friends and with the efforts of our oldest employee Gleb Nitsmann. Gleb has been collecting computer treasures for almost 20 years now. Among artefacts are:
- big electronic video terminals: Mera, a unique sample of Eastern European industrial design; BTA-2000, a classic attribute of Soviet research center of 80th; ADM-3A, a legendary equipment among the lovers of old electronics in the USA;
- whole machines and their components: from the mini DEC PDP-11, the USA computer that was chosen to be cloned over other soviet researchers’ developments, to processor boards and memory modules on ferrite cores;
- early soviet PCs for assembling at home; in particular, the first personal digital electronic computer “Radio-86PK”, collected for the editorial office of the “Radio” magazine.
Gleb Nitsman: “I was lucky to be at the end of the era when people were still not looking for gold in radioelements”.
It is way more fascinating to look at old machines and other hardware when the exposition is full of real people stories. Starting from 2019, DataArt museum specialists started to collect not only artefacts but also stories of engineers and programmers, evidence of important developments participants, and those who worked at soviet, Polish, Bulgarian digital electronic computers from the 50th to the 90th.
Oleksii Pomigalov, the museum project mentor: “The most valuable thing in any technology is people who developed it. Any collection that has no such stories risks remaining a collection of old hardware understood only by a small number of people. We believe that memories of scientists and engineers backed by the photos from family archives allow way more people to learn computer history, and understand how interesting it is”.
Now, the online museum stores popular science articles about various periods of the digital electronic computer history in the USSR. There are also transcripts of interviews recorded in Russia, Ukraine, and Armenia. Visitors will learn how soviet scientists developed unique computer not on the binary logic but on the ternary logic; how radio sportsman created the first mass soviet personal computer, a Leningrad clone of ZX Spectrum; how an engineer-colonel and academic in the 60th made out soviet Internet and developed the project of digital nation; how informatics appeared in schools; and who was the first one to enter the world wide web — several dozens of such stories.
The main collection of the IT museum resides in Saint Petersburg DataArt office. Though, some enthusiasts collect samples of old computing equipment and memorable items related to the history of its development, in other offices of the company — in Kyiv, Voronezh, and Wrocław.
The DataArt team keeps working on the museum project, collecting artefacts and recording new interviews. We hope that in the future the site will be filled with public exhibitions and lectures. We have plans to make a collection physically available and allow anyone an opportunity to see exhibits live, starting from Saint Petersburg where the main collection is stored.
But for now, we are waiting for you on the website: https://museum.dataart.com/