(Above) The former Mayor of Swindon used his last day in office to open the relocated Computer Museum
Founder Jeremy Holt began his campaign for a Museum of Computing more than 20 years ago, opening his nomadic Wiltshire haven in 2002 before hitting the rails in Spring last year when officials at Bath University decided to close the campus buildings they had been freely providing the Museum with.
Now, in a joyous development for geeks and gamers across the country, the computer museum will be restored after Swindon Borough Council gave organisers a three-year lease on premises in the town centre's Theatre Square, nestling near the new Central Library and Wyvern Theatre. A bleak outlook has been transformed into a future at the heart of the "cultural area" planners have conjured in the local regeneration plan.
"It will be good for the town," believes Holt, who says the Museum's 2,500-strong collection entices 2,000 viewers a year from more than 40 different countries. "Our new home means we can attract many more local visitors. We're also delighted the lease means the Museum can apply for professional accreditation from the Museums and Libraries Association."
A sponsorship deal with IT firm Blue Click PR, supplementing existing support from Intel, whose European headquarters are in Swindon, has allowed Holt to occupy the increased display space for a main exhibition and themed displays, changing twice a year.
Simon Webb, the Museum Curator who is rather unsurprisingly described as having "a passion for gaming", is hoping to satisfy the public thirst he sees for "entertainment and a trip down memory lane." "We'll be setting up championship league tables and are investigating the possibility of online competitions with other towns," he revealed.
The Mayor of Swindon found time to hand over the keys in a momentous ceremony coinciding with his last day in the job, and the Museum is now appealing for local techies to use the building for meetings and industry events alongside a programme of special events and talks. For the team of dedicated volunteers running the centre, it's a technological dream come true.Visit the Museum online for full details.