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Weird Science

Computers the size of an SUV and the history behind them at the Computer Museum of America

Did you know that just a few miles from your house there’s a life size replica of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module and 70 original supercomputers (no, kids, computers haven’t always been the size of your smartphone)?

Computer Museum of America (CMoA) is a nonprofit museum located in the heart of Roswell.  Since opening on July 20, 2019, CMoA is steadily growing its reputation as a unique, educational, and fun destination for visitors near and far. Founder, Lonnie Mimms, a Roswell resident of 25 years, was inspired to share his passion for computing and technology in such a way that professionally preserves digital artifacts, while educating guests through exhibits and programs. We sat down with Rena Youngblood, CMoA Executive Director, before the holidays hit to find out more about this gem. Be sure to take your holiday houseguests for a few hours between parties and football.

I expected the museum to be relatively small, but it’s not at all. How large is CMoA?

The exhibit space, event areas, and gift shop are roughly the size of a football field, which is 48,000 square feet. The museum alone is 34,000 square feet. We always suggest guests wear comfortable shoes and spend at least 1-1 1/2 hours on their visit. Ample seating is available throughout the museum and two wheelchairs are available.

What will guests see when they visit the museum?

Guests to CMoA will walk down the STEAM Timeline and see the Xerox Alto, Apple I, IBM PC, and much more. There are retro games to experience and a detailed tribute to the Apollo missions including a nearly life size replica of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module. There are minicomputers, one of the largest supercomputer collections in the world, the Enigma machine exhibit and much more. A surprise to many guests is how much art is integrated into the museum’s exhibits.

You mentioned event space. What types of events do you host at CMoA?

All kinds! We have hosted large corporate events from kickoffs to holiday affairs, Mitzvah celebrations, a fashion show, smaller dinners, a college recruiting event, casual team outings, and training events. We have a large ballroom, classroom, and gallery available for venue rental. We have also hosted our own Bytes & Brews events this year.

So CMoA has special events of its own?

Three Bytes & Brews events were held in 2021. Each evening featured the unveiling of a new exhibit or artifact for attendees to see before the general public. Guests experienced live music, subject matter experts, including an author who spoke about her mother’s experiences at Bletchley Park during WWII, and access to the rest of the museum. We look forward to bringing this series back in 2022.

Do you host any fundraisers for the museum?

CMoA is hosting its first fundraiser on Saturday, February 12, 2022, from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.  The Love Bytes Valentine Brunch will be a fun way to support the museum as we continue to expand our programming for all ages. In addition to a brunch buffet and sparkling wine cocktails, the Bourbon Brothers will be performing live music and the museum is preparing a special temporary exhibit featuring a coin-operated love meter from the 1930s. We know attendees will enjoy this interactive experience. Event sponsorship opportunities are available and tickets can be purchased on our website at ComputerMuseumOfAmerica.org.

Are you open through the holidays this year?

The holidays are a great time to visit CMoA. People enjoy bringing family and friends for the following reasons: it’s a unique destination, offers multi-generational interest, parking is free, and it’s simply a memorable way to entertain out of town visitors. Our holiday hours are on the home page of our website.

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