If you hadn’t been here, it’s hard to describe how different this is from just a regular museum; the top floor was all full of hands-on machines. Lots of people flocked to the Apple ][s and Commodores to relive childhood memories of playing Oregon Trail, but my favorite was being able to play chess on the Altair 8800, the first commercially successful home computer. The other really astonishing thing was that they have one of only a handful of functioning Apple I computers, and they actually let you type on it.
I was just there not long ago for Blue Hat Seattle. I sat on a Cray 1 while I watched a talk, and went into a “classroom” that had rows of Apple ][’s running Integer BASIC and an overhead projector showing a small example BASIC program. I had a conversation with a Microsoft security engineer in a wood-paneled “basement” with a Tandy CoCo and an Armatron!
This is a true shame. 2020 sucks (for, you know, a lot of reasons, but let’s add this to the pile).
Very sad indeed. I got to play around on an old Alto there; opened Vi and everything. They have so many great artifacts, I hope they don’t fall into disrepair.
What will happen to the systems?
This makes me sad. I love computer history.
I once toggled a bootloader into an Altair 8080 there with a gin and tonic in hand (my parents hadn’t met when the Altar 8080 was released). I also figured out how to open a square window with some impolite words on it on an AT&T 3B2 blit terminal, from the original printed documentation, also with a gin and tonic in hand, on a different occasion. That place was kinda magical.
The article doesn’t mention this afaict, but I suspect the base reason is Paul Allen’s death. The LCM was a SPAM  project and mostly his collection and was pretty strongly directed by his interests. It did really neat stuff and it’s loss is a huge blow to computer history preservation. I know some folks who worked there, and I hope they can keep the collection in the hands of capable and passionate people. Trouble is that building has two of the three most important things in real-estate, and with the engineers laid off, whoever moves the stuff will likely disassemble it for the last time.
 Spending Paul Allen’s Money, local parlance. The MoPoP and Allen Institutes (and maybe more flagrant knockoffs of architecture present at MIT placed in South lake union) are aso this.
Sad to see. I’m glad to have gotten around to visiting this before it closed. It’s a great demonstration of computer history, and amazing that they managed to keep all those old machines working.
This is a great loss. I hope the museum can return in the future.
Truly a one-of-a-kind institution. I am gutted that they are closed. In addition to the fantastic staff, exhibits, preservation work, and events, they offered off-site access to several restored machines including a PDP-11, DECSYSTEM-20, Western Electric 3B2, several VAXen, and a system running TOPS-20.