At first glance, it looks as if someone’s raided a high street Apple Store, stolen all the iPhones and iPads and MacBooks Air, and dumped a load of retro computers in their place.
Look closer, and you’ll begin to understand what a remarkable achievement this place is.
Welcome to the Moscow Apple Museum, owned and operated by 46-year-old computer engineer Andrey Antonov. If ever you felt the need to explain to your kids how Apple got where it is today, this is the place to take them.
Andrey didn’t start out to build a museum. Like most of us, his passion for Apple started out as a hobby, vaguely connected to his work.
After graduating from college in 1987 with a degree in computer engineering, Andrey got a job a few years later with a company that distributed Apple’s products in Russia at the time. That was when he started to collect computers.
“The first computer in my collection was Mac SE. It needed a lot of work to bring it into operation,” he says.
That SE sparked his interest, and from there the collection grew fast. No-one wanted this stuff. They practically gave it away.
“There was much less global attention on Apple in those days,” says Andrey. “Collecting was very inexpensive.”
Andrey has so many computers now, he’s not sure of the exact total number. The stuff in the museum isn’t even the whole collection, it’s just the highlights.
Andrey’s collection is doubly special because it extends far beyond computers. You name it, he’s got it. The Pippin, Apple’s short-lived venture into videogames? Yup. A working Apple II? Yup. QuickTake camera? Yup. Posters, mugs, keyrings, T-shirts? Yup, all of it. It’s an amazing collection. Luckily he had a very understanding boss, who allowed him to use some storage space at work. But eventually the collection outgrew that. Now it has premises of its own, and moved into its most recent home in August this year.