[Photos] Paul Allens's Living Computer Museum in Seattle

The Mechanical Keyboards subreddit had a Seattle meetup on Janurary 7th, 2017 at The Living Computer Museum in Seattle's Sodo district. Yours truly was there to participate and document this event, which strangely does not seem to have any discussion at all about the museum on these forums. It is indeed a "Living" computer museum, as nearly all the exhibits on display are working examples, to which you are free and encouraged to interact with a great deal of them. The range of equipment the museum possesses ranges from the modern day VR headsets all the way back to 1950s era vintage kit. Game disks are provided for most machines, though there are Basic and productivity disks as well. I won't list all the exhibits out here, but needless to say it includes a great deal of rare and exotic keyboards and switch types that are nearly impossible to come across in the wild, much less attached to a working specimen of their native machine. If you're in the pacific northwest or happen to be passing through Seattle, I would call the museum a must visit for anyone from these forums.

I didn't take any pictures of the venue itself, though Google maps has us covered there with a walkthrough of the third floor where most of the exhibits are located (Be sure to go through the double doors on the west wall to see the "conditioned" room). A full list of exhibits can also be found on the museum's website.

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Cindy's 3278 Beamspring is on display and operational, though without a mainframe to attach to it can't do very much at the moment. The room it's located in contains many running mainframes and microcomputers and as such is fairly noisy - I actually strained a bit to hear key presses without the solenoid on. Suddenly, it's existence makes sense!

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These Cherry M7 boards were attached to a Xerox Sigma 9, one of the systems you can actually request your own personal login for from the museum.

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This VT131 welcomes all to sign-in to a PDP-11/70.

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The elusive Fujitsu Leafspring lives here in it's native environment. These switches really are quite lovely to have a go at.

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According to the museum, this is one of only 2 functional examples of a Xerox Alto in the world.

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This Teletype was operational and had a game of chess going on at the time. I'm not old enough to have seen these operating ~*back in the day*~ but the noise they make when the head smacks in succession is fantastic.

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Oh dear, a ruffian has vandalized this poor Heathkit terminal and left it to it's fate to run an insidious advertisement forever!

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This 029 card punch was turned on, a museum guide was able to show me how it operated and I now have a commemorative punch card that says "DONGS" to remember my visit by and cherish forever.

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As mentioned above there was a keyboard meetup going on at the time as well, though I neglected to take too many pictures of that. In the sea of MX and MX clone boards this one caught my attention - a custom monterey blues board on a Magicforce frame.

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In the interests of fairness, here is one of those MX boards - I find Zealios to be easily the best of the Cherry MX and MX clones lineup that's out there. I still like Matias quiet clicks more though, and the high cost of entry (over $1 per switch) means I'm probably unlikely to ever seek out building something with em.

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Somehow, an Acorn Electron had found it's way to Seattle.
dokyun
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Unread post08 Jan 2017, 06:53

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Great pictures, that Xerox Alto alone WOW...

The room it's located in contains many running mainframes and microcomputers and as such is fairly noisy - I actually strained a bit to hear key presses without the solenoid on. Suddenly, it's existence makes sense!

Loud mainframes and microcomputers need loud(er) keyboards! Makes sense.
seebart
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Unread post08 Jan 2017, 07:22

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Nice report. And too think I was staying in a hotel 2 minutes from there and haven't visited :(

Nice, displaywritery keycaps on that Acorn.
alh84001
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Unread post08 Jan 2017, 10:50

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Wow...
I should go to a meetup sometime...
paecific.jr

Unread post08 Jan 2017, 14:41

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"Living computer" museum, such a great concept!
I hope in a living computer museum, I can have the chance to try out some of those legendary computers, such as the Lisp Machine.
Menuhin

Unread post08 Jan 2017, 15:18

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As soon as I read "Paul Allen" I thought of this; surely this is not him? xD

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Unread post08 Jan 2017, 22:25

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I thought of Microsoft Paul Allen who has enough $$$ to build any museum. Anyway that's a great movie Chyros and a great scene from that movie. I own that CD too BTW. :evilgeek:
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Unread post08 Jan 2017, 22:35

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seebart wrote:I thought of Microsoft Paul Allen who has enough $$$ to build any museum.

Yes, that one. A computer museum run by the other Paul would be uh...probably not that interesting ;)
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Unread post09 Jan 2017, 17:49

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I believe that museum holds the only complete DPS8/M Multics system left in the world. Unfortunately, AFAIK, it can't be booted.
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Unread post09 Jan 2017, 18:07

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Awcrap. Missed it.
DMA

Unread post09 Jan 2017, 21:30

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The bringer of PSoC
Sad I missed this. Was hoping I'd have moved in time to make it. Will surely make future ones.
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Unread post10 Jan 2017, 15:23

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Meh, I'm more an Apple guy.

Just kidding! Great photos and cool collection. And some of those vintage keycaps are just damn sexy.
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Unread post11 Jan 2017, 00:32

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