Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Things of One's Youth Are in Museums

As I grew older I would not be surprised when items that were common place when I was a child would be a part of a museum exhibit. This was OK afterall I was a child and these items were artifacts of my parents' generation.

As the years passed, I am finding items that were new when I was a young adult are more and more often being added to museum collections and exhibitions.

When I created this blog, I expected that I would be only writing about events and circumstances that impacted my ancestors and stories that they told. But more recent events in my life made me realize that events in the lives of me and my husband were now a part of history.

My husband is now part of the oral history collection at the Silicon Valley Computer History Museum. Then I see other friends from the early years of our courtship and marriage also part of the collection.

The Computer History Museum is local. OK, I can handle the fact that my husband and friends are part of the collection. I had no idea that something of my intimate past would be included at the Smithsonian. I learned that a punch card designed by the UCLA Computer Club was now a part of the Smithsonian collection.

UCLA Computer Club was where I met my husband. I was one of three females that were members at that time when the rest of the membership consisted of about 200 males. Besides me, the other two were Diane and Mary.

As a math major at Cal, I took some programming classes that were part of the mathematics department courses. When I was at UCLA, I discovered the Computer Club, a place that I could get free time on the computer to hone my skills.

To support myself, I worked part time for a professor of Anthropology writing a program to analyze the data he had collected in India. I used the Campus Computing Facility to analyze Dr. Leaf's data. His project was charged based on an MUS. We pronounced this new charging unit moose. The acronym stood for machine unit second.

Computer Club was given so many free MUS to give to the members. One member created a drawing of a moose that was printed on the punch cards sold to the members. This is the image of the Moose punch card held at the Smithsonian:

Apparently the cards were printed on pink cardstock at some time. I remember them looking more like the color of a manilla file folder. Click on the image above to visit the Smithsonian website.

1 comment:

  1. I was in the UCLA computer club in 1976-78. We used to sell those cards from the club's office, so we could have enough money for the big end of the year party.