Summer Bytes opens to the sound of computer music
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The Summer Bytes Festival at The National Museum of Computing was opened by The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Brian White, on Saturday to the sound of music being composed by visitors on a range of vintage and modern computers.
The Summer Bytes Festival, open on Wednesdays to Sunday afternoons until 1 September, is packed full of events and workshops featuring fun, games and extraordinary computer applications all set amongst the world's largest selection of working historic computers.
At the opening The Mayor of Milton Keynes, Councillor Brian White, said: "It's typical that Milton Keynes has on its doorsteps such a renowned national and international museum. I strongly recommend that the local community take the time to visit this wonderful Museum during the Summer Bytes Festival. The restoration work by volunteers is remarkable particularly of some of the really large computers and shows how the things we take for granted today were developed step by step. To see the Domesday project brought back to life using a combination of technologies from 1986 and 2011 was fascinating but the 1980s fashions leave a little bit to be desired."
Computer music was the theme at the opening Festival weekend. Visitors experimented with composing computer music on BBC Micros and then by swivelling around in their seats could advance three decades to try composing music on modern laptops donated by Tribune and Fujitsu.
Chris Monk, TNMOC's Learning Co-ordinator, said: "Here at the Museum we aim to make computer history vibrant and relevant. We are constantly developing ways to demonstrate the huge advances that have been made and to encourage young people to take introductory skills learned at the Museum away with them to develop at home and school."
Elsewhere in the Museum other computers were being explored for their musical capabilities. One two-year-old climbed on a chair to operate a Korg synthesiser while visitors of all ages were busy interacting with machines in the Museum that likes to say: please make noise and please touch!
TNMOC Volunteer Philip Catterall who has invented the "Squark-Duino", a highly unusual computer instrument was delighted with the reaction to it: "The Squark-Duino is a two-feet high, bright yellow quaver-shaped instrument controlled by an Arduino. It is triggered by a variety of sensors to produce musical sounds ranging from cello and organ to nine types of percussion. Several visiting teachers told me they were inspired to rethink their classroom projects that involve Arduinos, low-cost devices that can be used to make everyday objects do unusual things."
The Summer Bytes Festival continues this week with Arduino Workhops that can be booked online. Events throughout the month include computer games workshops, a daytime astronomy event, 3D printing, digital train sets, and workshops with the brand new LEGO EV3 controller. Full details can be found at www.tnmoc.org
Notes To Editors
About The National Museum of Computing
The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.
Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, the Drapers' Foundation, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.
The Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm, and on summer Bank Holidays. From 24 July until 1 September, the Museum will be open Wednesday to Sunday, 1-5pm. Guided tours are also available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays. There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and may be on any day or evening by prior arrangement.
For more information, see www.tnmoc.org and follow @tnmoc on Twitter and The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+. A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.
Palam Communications for TNMOC
t +44 (0) 1635 299116