Gad­get mu­seum pow­ers up

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By JESS ETHERIDGE

MARK and Katie Bar­low have ex­actly one month to bring their dream of a com­put­ing mu­seum to life.

Tech­vana – The New Zealand Com­put­ing Mu­seum will be home to Mark’s lifetime col­lec­tion of old com­put­ers and gad­gets, with a whole sec­tion ded­i­cated to retro gaming giz­mos.

A char­i­ta­ble trust will run the ven­ture, which will in­clude a cafe, func­tions space and meet­ing rooms.

En­try for the pub­lic will be via gold coin do­na­tion.

But $250,000 is needed to se­cure the project’s fu­ture, the Bar­lows say.

Mark be­gan col­lect­ing com­put­ers as a teenager and was mak­ing soft­ware and a liv­ing in the IT in­dus­try, be­fore he even left high school.

Almost $20,000 has been pledged on­line so far.

The Bar­lows have been shift­ing the more than 1000-piece col­lec­tion from their home to the Cook St site over the past three weeks.

There have also been do­na­tions to the col­lec­tion from com­put­ing en­thu­si­asts around New Zealand, Katie says. ‘‘We’ve been given this place. ‘‘I must say from my opin­ion it’s been a bless­ing and a curse, be­cause we’ve had three weeks of ab­so­lute mad­ness while we’ve tried to move our­selves in here,’’ she says.

‘‘But the for­tu­nate thing for us is we’re sur­rounded by pas­sion­ate peo­ple, who are ge­niuses as well.’’

The St Johns’ cou­ple has taken to crowd­fund­ing web­site, PledgeMe, to raise the eq­uity.

Tech­vana is set up in the old Ok­to­bor An­i­ma­tion stu­dios at 105 Cook St in the cen­tral city.

The Bar­lows are there on a gifted lease un­til De­cem­ber 5, by which time a decision on Tech­vana’s fu­ture will be made.

If the money is not found there is a plan B of spon­sor­ships and part­ner­ships, Katie says.

The mu­seum is open to the pub­lic be­tween noon and 5pm on week­ends.

Photo: JESS ETHERIDGE

Driv­ing force: Katie Bar­low, with her hus­band Mark, has a go on one of the retro gaming ma­chines inside Tech­vana.

Go to auck­land­c­i­ty­har­bournews. co.nz and click Lat­est Edi­tion to see more of Mark Bar­low’s com­put­ing col­lec­tion.

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