Modern Collections

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While we’re on the subject of museum collections, let’s talk for a minute about one of the biggest conundrums museums face: collecting modern stuff.

Especially technology.

Bag phone from the early 1990s

When we accept donations of objects, we try to focus on things that were used by people in the Creston Valley – but technology is something that everybody uses, and it changes so quickly that there tends to be a lot of old stuff around. Just imagine what happens when that ever-changing technology gets to the point where people look at it and say, “it’s old, it belongs in a museum!”

I think our storage spaces will get really full, really quickly.

Amongst the modern objects in our collections are:

  • a bag phone from the early 1990s, predecessor to the modern cell phone;
  • a beta player, a number of betamax tapes from Creston Cable Video, and a few examples of other now-obsolete video formats;
  • a whole range of cameras, from the earliest Brownie box cameras to relatively recent Polaroid cameras (and even a James Bond spy camera!);
  • the Gestetner used to crank out the original Creston Advert (predecessor to the Advance); a posting machine evicted from the Credit Union when they moved to computers; and more typewriters than you can shake a stick at, including a couple electric ones;
  • a TRS-80 computer from about 1984 – the first computer the Creston Valley Advance ever used. It’s a pretty skookum machine: built-in screen, two floppy disc drives, and – get this – 64K RAM!

None of those are particularly recent, especially given the speed with which technology changes. So, your thing-to-think-about for today is: what more recent technology should we think about adding, and why?

(Please please please just tell us in the comments – don’t drop off your favourite examples on the museum’s doorstep, ‘kay? That’s great, then!)

And we’d still love to hear your thoughts on collecting things that reflect the COVID-19 crisis.