The Micro Museum encompasses vintage computers, video gaming and micro-electronics, such as mobile phones, small electronic games and toys. An array of working micro-computers and games consoles are available for visitors to try out, playing games and programming for as long as they wish. The museum also includes displays on the history of computing.
The museum is located in what used to be a stone mason’s workshop and later a plumber’s merchant, next to a large parish church in central Ramsgate. The reception area has a working BBC micro-computer and libraries of games and magazines on shelves. This leads to a large room which contains both the displays and a large array of different consoles and computers, set up to play at seated workstations. Wall posters cover the history of computing and floor to ceiling units display a huge array of computers and gaming consoles through the ages, mostly divided up by decade and in the case of smaller objects, by type (abacus, calculators, Furbies, mobile phones, LCD games, joysticks and so on). A Sinclair C5 is on display with accompanying information on the career of Clive Sinclair.
Carol and Mike Deer are semi-retired co-owners of the Micro-Museum and it is run as a small family business, with the involvement of a few volunteers. Mike used to work as a gallery attendant at the Museum of London. Carol describes the museum as a showcase for their personal collection of computers, games and electronics (‘basically anything that’s got a micro-chip in it that interests us’ from the 1970s to 2000. Mike started collecting in 1981 when he bought a Sinclair ZX81 in his mid-twenties. This led to buying more powerful home computers and electronic games. As consumer electronics developed so quickly computers and games were soon regarded as obsolescent and could be bought cheaply. The collection was amassed over 40 years and the museum opened permanently to the public in 2014.
Photos and text by Dr Toby Butler.