In the beginning... 

It all started in the early 1990's with a modest assortment of ageing home computers and games consoles. Unlike most collections it wasn't filled with the best examples and mint condition items, as most had been rescued from the dustbin or liberated from peoples attics and garages. Many items were faulty, broken and damaged. It was thought to be better to save as many of these vintage items as possible, regardless of their condition, as opposed to letting them disappear forever on the scrapheaps and landfills.

The Retroseum project was founded in 2006 by me, 'Gary The Penguin'. I wanted to share this rag-tag collection with the world and hopefully give the them a purpose again. I also wanted to reach out to any other neglected and forgotten computers and consoles and offer them a caring home. I thought in this modern world the best way to do that was through the internet.

So, from here the Retroseum Mission was spawned and work on a database and website began. 

In 2008 new premises were sought to house this expanding vintage community and new product types were introduced like a Cocktail Arcade, PDA's and vintage calculators. Due to the collections growing diversity the website had to be re-developed from the ground up. 

Disaster struck in 2010! During the icy cold winter, burst water pipes caused a serious flood of the Retroseum property and sadly some of the beloved collection was damaged. The website was therefore put on hold whilst the collection was temporarily moved for property repairs and the remainder of 2010 and most of 2011 was spent testing and repairing the injured artifacts. Unfortunately though not all casualties were saved and an unlucky Apricot and a couple of Commodore's passed away during major surgery.


Retroseum Back On Track... 

Toward the end of 2011 work continued on the website and finally in January 2012, almost 6 years after the initial concept, The Retroseum Online Museum went Live! The website was by no means completed, and constant work is needed to keep it updated and add more exhibits, but there was enough to get it off the ground. Although the internet is a different and more modern medium in which to develop the project our core values and original mission still applies. 


The Retroseum Mission...

In this modern age of computer technology, ipods, smartphones and the internet; technology is deemed obsolete very very quickly and huge amounts of hardware and software is being disposed of every day. With the current trend of disposal and "recycling", this technology could very easily become lost forever. The majority of electronics devices which are "recycled" are melted down and destroyed for their precious metal content and with it the heritage is detroyed also. The main objective of the Retroseum project is to help preserve our technological heritage by saving old, unwanted, outdated and obsolete pieces of computer based technology. It is our belief that this would be best acheived by rescueing as many items we can from landfills, scrapheaps and "recycling" centres, repairing them where possible and sharing them with as many people as we can.

Retroseum has some simple guidelines to help us in our mission;

  • The more vintage, classic and obsolete products we can find, repair (where neccessary) and share the better.
  • The Retroseum website is not intended to be a definitive list of vintage computer technology, nor an extensive library of information and software. It's primary function is to share information of the products which actually exist in the Retroseum Collection. There are many many other projects and websites dedicated to colating information and software, we do not need to replicate this.
  • Retroseum will accept any computer, games console, handheld computer, calculator, arcade machine or any device which contains a CPU and is deemed obsolete, regardless of it's condition, even if it is damaged and non functional. We also accept any other hardware, peripherals, accessories, software and literature related to the products.
  • Retroseum will "never put a healthy computer down", therefore where possible we aim to repair any damaged and faulty items to the best of our resources and ability. If we do not have the knowledge or resources to repair an item which is considered repairable we will safely store the item until we can.
  • If an item is considered un-repairable it may be stripped down for parts which may then be used to give life to other faulty and damaged items. The only exception to this is when an item or part is deemed hazardous, for example cracked LCD screens and leaking batteries will be safely disposed of.
  • Surplus items are of little use to the museum so instead of letting them sit around gathering dust we will endeavor to find it a good new home where it can be enjoyed.

We currently have various stretgedy's to achieve our mission; we rescue hardware and software from various sources including donations from the general public, searching Freecycle, searching Freegle, searching SnaffleUp, scouring car boot sales and when funds allow buying "faulty" or minimum bid items off E-bay.



Although Retroseum does not accept financial donations, we do welcome any information and help toward the project. If you think you can contribute please join the Retroseum Forum, or e-mail us.

We also welcome any hardware, software or literature donations. If you have an old computer or console which you have not managed to sell on E-bay, or that might be laying in your attic unwanted, or that might be too damaged to sell, please please please do not throw it away. Similarly if you find any documentation / user guides or cables for any old hardware you might not own anymore, please do not throw them away. Donate it to Retroseum instead. Retroseum cannot offer any money, but it will try it's very best to make the most of what you donate.


Credits & Thank-You's...

Retroseum would like to thank the following;

  • HHCJ Design Services - For helping with the database and website design.
  • The Raspberry Pi Foundation - For creating the awesome Raspberry Pi we are now using to host the database and website.
  • my little forum - For supplying the forum.
  • Concept Logic - For supplying the jCart shopping cart.
  • Trent Electronics Ltd. - For assisting in the repairs of broken hardware.
  • Christian Bartsch of KryoFlux Products & Services Limited - For developing the Kryoflux floppy interface which has proven essential for software preservation.
  • Michael Star, Craig Chapple & Arianne Wolodarsky - For writing the 'Vintropedia Collector Handbook 2009' which has been a much needed and essential reference guide. 
  • The late Dr. Brian Legg (1938-2012)
    From a young boy Brian had an almost obsessive interest in Science & Technology including mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy, electronics, and advanced computing & programming. During his academic life he acheived a B.Sc. Chemistry (Newcastle), M.Sc. Robotics (Imperial College, London), and Ph.D. Pharmacokinetics (Manchester). Like myself Brian was also an avid hoarder and archivist which resulted in a fantastic retro technology collection including Atari's, Sinclair's, Commodore's and old calculators. When Brian sadly died in 2012 his wife, Janet, donated the majority of his collection to the Retroseum. Thank-you Brian, may you rest in peace.

Retroseum would also like to thank the following for donating hardware and software to the museum;

Peter Bacon - For donating a Sinclair ZX-81
M.J. Brooks - For donating various MS-DOS software.
Mark Fox - For donating an Atari ST.
Stephen Gardiner - For donating an IBM Portable PC.
Paul Hallam - For donating some Atari ST software and a ST compatible external floppy disk drive.
Victoria Harley - For donating an AMD / nVidia Gaming PC.
Eric Harrison - For donating a Commodore 64 and a Nintendo 64.
Eric Masterson - For donating a Tatung Einstein.
Benjamin McLean - For donating a Microsoft Xbox.
Ian Murphy - For donating various old PC motherboards, CPU's and other parts.
Dave Newbold - For donating a vintage calculator.
Eric Poxon - For donating an IBM 286 PC.
Linda & Colin Wilkinson - For donating many, many, many items of hardware and software over the years.
Louise Wilkinson - For donating a Nintendo NES and games.
George Yeomans - For donating an Apricot PC, Microsoft Xbox and a Serial Terminal.