VCF EAST 2023 – PART 6

GOTO PART 5 (InfoAge Science and History Museum Computers)

Info Age Science Center – Other Exhibits

Aside from computers, the science center has various other exhibit halls related to historical events of the area. This is a highlight of some of those exhibits and artifacts.

CATEGORY 1: Ship artifacts

The museum had a few artifacts from several famous ocean liners. Not just posters (as shown below), but actual objects from the vessels in display cases and many excellent models of the ships themselves. Unfortunately, my photos of the models in this room came out fuzzy (my fault for not adjusting to the lighting!).

They also covered aspects of the Titanic. But one story that stood out to me was the 1934 Morro Castle incident, which recall I had learned about earlier while walking along the Belmar Boardwalk. Then while here, I learned there was another tragedy one year later (the Mohawk).

CATEGORY 2: Wartime Models

There were several rooms containing excellent painted miniature models of famous battles and events. These days, software is used to model these kinds of things virtually. But there tends to be a greater attention to detail in these done-by-hand models.

The wedding dress story (above) at the end of this category brought a tear to my eye. I encourage you to read through that story! But to summarize: the “wedding dress” here was made from a parachute that a soldier had used and had prepared as a dress for his bride. Years later, that same dress was used again by the daughter of that bride.

CATEGORY 3: Vintage Phone, Television, and Music

Another great exhibit hall was a display of vintage phones, speakers, radios. This exhibit consumed an entire building, so there are far more than just the few samples shown below.

It was really neat to experience a working Theremin device to make sound by waving your hands. One of these was used during one season of America’s Got Talent – I remember that episode and didn’t realize at the time that the concept was really from many decades earlier.

CATEGORY 4: EW, Association of Old Crows, Radios

EW (electronic warfare) means a lot to me and some of the things I work on. Aside from wireless voice communication, there is a wide spectrum of signals beyond what we can see. Radar technology itself was once one of the “crown jewels” that directly helped Britain defend itself from the German air force.

A lot of the modern day hackers are involved in decoding wireless signals (like toll tag readers). See DEF CON (here). Aside from decoding, EW also involves the counter-suppression of signals.

CATEGORY 5: Model Railroad Trains

I had a model railroad tabletop when I was growing up (HO scale, about a 10′ x 15′ table that my father and I worked on over weekends). This room with the blue paint walls was still being setup (work stalled in 2020), but it was neat seeing the work-in-progress.

Seeing the model trains in motion is a lot of fun! But another aspect here is a reminder of how model railroading played a big part in helping us to realize the need and approaches to building our modern information network. That is, of sending a command signal across a room. The Model Railroading club at MIT was the crew that received the early DEC PDP-1 in 1960, which eventually (over the next decade) lead to two major developments: (1) the idea of a packed-switched router to route information across many computers and (2) the idea of general application software, that is software that did something beyond what the equipment was originally intended for (see for example one of the original computer games called Spacewar).

Another smaller room across the main train hall had some more completed train sets, with great attention to detail and lots of interactive switches to “animated” the scene.

GOTO PART 5 (InfoAge Science and History Museum Computers)

2 thoughts on “VCF EAST 2023 – PART 6

  1. Enjoyed the trip; refreshingly broader scope than the usual narrowly focussed pics of hardware and people.

  2. Thank you Voidstar. Nice review of your trip. I missed some of the other buildings but did catch the Radio musuem at the end just before I left. I will have to go back and spend more time there.

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