The Korea Computer Museum


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Apple II history is celebrated everywhere, with museums from California to Italy to Russia. The latest country to recognize the historical significance of the Apple II: South Korea.

The Korea Computer Museum, located in a warehouse in Guri, Gyeonggi, is the work of 48-year-old Kim Kwon-tae. His collection of 420 computers was amassed over the last ten years, mostly via eBay. He recently gave a tour of the museum to Korea JoonAng Daily reporter Chun Kwon-Pil, who wrote:

Carefully browsing through the collection, Kim announced that he had something interesting to show a reporter. He took out a floppy disk, one of the early storage devices for computers.

He slipped it into an Apple 2e, the third model of the Apple's II series. After a few seconds of a familiar machine melody, Pac-Man popped up on the screen, an early computer game with flat graphics and rudimentary rules.

"I regularly turn them on and off to make sure they don’t go out of order," Kim said. "It's like feeding them with electricity."

The museum opened in 2012 but has recently been in the news for featuring a Steve Jobs exhibit, commemorating the fifth anniversary of the Apple co-founder's passing. The exhibit is running through November 27 and is available by appointment only.

Kim Kwon-Tae, operator of the Korea Computer Museum

Kim Kwon-Tae, operator of the Korea Computer Museum.
Photo by Jang Jin-Young.

There's plenty more to see in South Korea. Writes Luke Dormehl for Cult of Mac:

If, for some reason, you are planning to visit South Korea for an Apple-themed holiday, the Korea Computer Museum isn't the only place that should be on your list. The country's Nexon Computer Museum also owns one of a tiny number of Apple I computers that are still fully operational. It was purchased from Sotheby's on June 15, 2012 for $374,500.

Apple, meanwhile, was recently rumored to be planning a new Apple store — the first in South Korea — directly across the street from Samsung’s headquarters in Seoul, South Korea.

I'm unfamiliar with the popularity of the Apple II in South Korea when it was still commercially available, but I'm glad to see its global significance being recognized throughout the world. Kim hopes that his collection will "provoke the imagination of children", just as it did for so many Westerners thirty years ago. May its legacy of inspiration continue.