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Geek out at Seattle’s Living Computers

It all started with one computer.

In 1997 Paul Allen’s company, Vulcan Inc., purchased a TOAD-1 System from XKL Systems Corporation (now XKL LLC), an engineering firm in Redmond, Washington. Mr. Allen was interested in preserving the historically significant software that was created on Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-10 family of systems, which came to be known as the DECsystem-10 and DECSYSTEM-20, and made the TOAD-1, a PDP-10 clone, available to the public.

A DECSYSTEM-1090 and DECSYSTEM-2065 from XKL and a large collection of various DEC PDP computers soon followed. In 2006, remote accounts to some of these machines we opened to the public through the website.

After broadening the collection beyond DEC, in 2012 the museum opened its vintage computer collection for the public to see, and use, as the Living Computer Museum. In 2016 the museum expanded with the addition of 1st floor exhibits featuring current technology, as well as three hands-on computer science learning labs. It then took the name Living Computers: Museum + Labs.

LCM+L continues to collect, and bring back to life, historically significant computers and software. Machines are available for use onsite whenever possible, and many can be used remotely.

From immersive exhibit experiences and hands-on demonstrations to late-night special events and all-ages programs, the museum creates opportunities for people to connect their lives and their interests to our world of working computers.

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