Exhibitions of my Apple-1 computer

My Apple-1 on display

About the preparations.
#1 Since 2017 at the Deutsches Museum Munich / Germany
#2 July 14, 2018 till February 10, 2019 at the ZKM, Karlsruhe / Germany
#3 August 3-4, 2019 at the Computer History Museum in California, USA

Preparations - about the challenges of exhibiting an Apple-1

Some of my Apple-1 were and are on display.
I like the idea of sharing such a rare and important computer with other vintage computer enthusiasts. The number of surviving Apple-1 is limited, only 200 plus prototypes were ever made and due to the rarity and high value not everyone who wants to see it gets a chance.

Giving such a rare and valuable piece of equipment to an exhibition involves a great deal of effort.
Usually, a preparation time of weeks or months must be expected. Apart from organizational and administrative questions, the insurance cover for the transport and the exhibition must be clarified.

Just a few considerations:
How does the computer get safely to the exhibition and back; who pays for transportation and who organizes this? Is security ensured during transport and exhibition? Who will pack and unpack and set up the computer? Can no one damage the computer during the exhibition? Is the exhibitor reputable and trustworthy? Is it necessary, desirable and timely possible to show up at ehibtion? Will the press be present and / or is a presentation wanted? Is a documentation necessary? Or a written description of the computer, the history etc.? Am I at home or do I have time to deliver or handle it over to the transportation company? The computer is in a bank vault and just in time it must be ready for transport. Is the lighting (UV radiation) harmless or low enough so that no damage occurs? Especially not to stamps or markings made with a pen. And so much more...

The risk, to damage the computer is very high. The Apple-1 computer is very old. Parts could break off. The coating can peel of etc.
This happened to one of my Apple-1. A little bit of the coating peeled off during transportation. It did not fixable. Luckily, it did not damage the functionality, but resulted in visual damage.

Exhibtions abroad
The biggest challenge to display in foreign countries is the customs authority! You need a permit for tax-free export and re-importation. And you need it from you home country and the country you are travelling to. And all that is not easy. To take it just in your hand baggage is very risky if customs check your baggage at the airport and ask you to pay tax.
Just to get the paperwork ready takes weeks, many phone calls are needed and you have to drive to customs. The Apple-1 computer has no serial number but customs want to be sure, it is the same item you bring back.

For one exhibition in the USA, I flew from Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Thanks to the European Union there is no problem to transport the Apple-1 between the Netherlands and Germany. But at the Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, customs needed to check the paperwork, the Apple-1 computers and it took a long time, some discussion, many stamps and copies of documents and queuing in a long line with other passengers who wanted to get tax back for duty free items. Airport security is always checking the Apple-1 computer. You have to discuss again and make sure, nobody is handling the mainboard like a peace of old electronics. I had one security officer throwing the Apple-1 on a table. I told her, it is worth some hundreds of thousands dollars. Departing from the USA, you not easier at all. After getting back to Amsterdam, you have the same procedure with customs again. It just takes even more time, phone calls, paperwork and of course more stamps. Back in Germany, I had to drive to far away German customs, again. Here the paperwork will be checked again and you get the final stamps.
Yes, it is a challenge.

Because of all the problems and time-consuming preparations, I had to turn down a few requests. Some exhibitions in 2020 fell victim to the pandemic.

Deutsches Museum, Munich / Germany

I gave my wonderful Copson Apple-1 to Free of charge, no payment and delivering to the museum was up to me on my expense. One of the first questions are "what can you do with it?", "can you send an email?", "why is it not in color?".

ZKM Karlsruhe / Germany

From July 14, 2018 till February 10, 2019 at ZKM, Center for art and media, Lorenzstraße 19, 76135 Karlsruhe. ZKM Website (German only, please use online translator). Exhibition was called „Kunst in Bewegung. 100 Meisterwerke mit und durch Medien.“ (Art in motion. 100 masterpieces with and through media).

A custom box was built to protect the mainboard, cassette interface and the keyboard. By special transport it was going to Karlsruhe in June 2018.
It was given to the museum free of charge.

The Apple-1 is still in the state first owner of 1976. The first owner added some parts and replaces a socket. I believe after 40+ years this is part of the history and belongs to the board. I preserve this state. Even no cleaning was done. And that’s the way every museum like/want it! Restoration would only done if the artifact is in danger or badly damaged. But this Apple-1 is in working condition and all parts are original. Nothing is changed, no components are added/replaced later (except the keyboard socket and the added parts by first owner in the 70’s).

The in 1976 added electronic are inverters for using a keyboard. The keyboard is homemade like every keyboard used for an Apple-1 in the 70’s. Apple did not offer a keyboard.

The added components (inverter ICs) were necessary to use some keyboards in 1976. Many Apple-1 were modified for auctions in the past. Those added parts were removed and a 1977 or even later Apple II keyboard was attached. The Dryden Apple-1 is still in the 1976 state including the keyboard. Not everyone agree that it is worth to destroy the history of the Apple-1 mainboard and remove 1976 parts necessary to use some 1976 keyboard just to make the mainboard looking “clean” and add much later produced keyboards.

Computer History Museum in California, USA

In 2019 Apple-1 owner were invited to attend as an exhibitor the VCF West 2019 (Vintage Computer Festival) at the CHM (Computer History Museum, Mountainview, California / USA) on August 3rd and 4th, 2019. A great chance to catch up with some friends in California and to meet other Apple-1 owner. Some I already knew in person, some just by email conversation.
Along with the journey I was invited by Jamis MacNiven (famous Buck's of Woodside) and Daniel Kottke. I had to see again Wendel Sanders and many others. And there was John Draper aka Capt. Crunch, who I met at Daniel Kottke's house and at the VCF. After exhibition for another invitation I flew to L.A. and met another Apple-1 owner.

Aurora Tucker together with Dag Spicer from the CHM and Corey Cohen asked me to bring as many Apple-1 as I like. Two Apple-1 are handleable in hand baggage. Transport was up to me, insurance for the exhibition was provided.

It was great to meet other Apple-1 owner, auction house representatives and vintage computer enthusiasts. Even someone with a nice Apple-1 that was not listed in the Apple-1 Registry. We negotiated about the price.

Talks to Allen Baum, Krishna B. Blake, Dana Carlton and so many more kept me busy for hours. Another appointment with someone from Chicago was arranged. He sold a KIMSI and other items to me.

Together with some Italian guys we were the only foreigners. Claudio Parmigiani showed a very nice extention for the Apple-1 to make music.

My Duston-2 Apple-1 and Flatiron Apple-1 were on display. For a presentation on stage by Daniel Kottke a reliable working Apple-1 was needed. My Duston-2 was used for this purpose. Getting the two Apple-1 to Californa and back home to Germany wasn't as easy as it should be. Part of the story is here.

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