The National Museum of Computing (NMOC) has asked for volunteers to help maintain its use of the BBC Micro, a computer that was released in 1981.
The museum is located next to the former code-breaking headquarters at Bletchley Park, and the BBC Micro machines are a popular attraction for visitors, many of whom remember it as their first experience of computing.
"Over the past year more than 4,500 students came to the museum on the Learning Programme and many of them used an original 1980s BBC Micro computer to hack a computer games program and perhaps gain their first experience of coding," said the museum in a note on its website.
"It's one of the most popular parts of the Learning Programme and high on the list of requested activities for returning groups. We need some help in keeping the Beebs alive and for more people to join the BBC refurb team."
The museum has several of the machines, but not enough people to keep them running, and anyone who volunteers will contribute to the preservation of a historic machine.
"The Beeb has certainly stood the test of time. Teachers reminisce about their introduction to computing, while the students get a thrill from this uncomplicated and rewarding introduction to computer programming," said the museum.
"The BBC Micro Cluster goes beyond the Learning Programme too. It's used by the general public and visiting corporate groups, and a few of the micros often escape on tour to external exhibitions and displays."
Owen Grover from the NMOC told V3: "Any person taking this on needs to be competent at soldering, and have a reasonable knowledge of electronics and computers, as they will need to read circuit diagrams and be able to order the correct components from suppliers.
"No specialist equipment or tools are required, although an oscilloscope can be handy in tracing some logic faults."
Interested parties can volunteer through the NMOC website or send an email to [email protected], and will find themselves among historic computers including the 5.5-tonne Flossie and the Harwell Dekatron, or Witch.
Flossie is one of just a few machines made in 1962 by a company called International Computers and Tabulators. It is 25ft x 25ft and was saved from the scrapheap by the museum in 2013.
"After languishing for a period in a barn in Kent, it was restored with the help of the Computer Conservation Society. Visitors could then come and see, smell and feel the vibrations of a remarkable 1960s computer," said the museum at the time.
"Last year, Flossie was again at risk of being scrapped, but thanks to the NMOC the machine is safe again."
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