A large, privately-owned, and operated museum dedicated to retro computers and video games was destroyed earlier this week in Ukraine as a result of the ongoing and horrific invasion of the country by Russia. While a museum being destroyed doesn’t compare at all to the thousands dead and injured, it’s still a sad loss as over 500 pieces of computer history spanning decades has been destroyed.
The museum, located in Mariupol, Ukraine, was operated by Dmitry Cherepanov. The news of its destruction was confirmed by the Ukrainian Software and Computer Museum Twitter account. Reportedly, owner Cherepanov is safe.
Unfortunately it's true. Dmitry and I met personally in his museum a few years ago. It was really good collection. But now Dmitry is in the safe place. This is most important thing in the current situation. Слава Україні.— Software & Computer Museum (@sncmuseum) March 24, 2022
However, Cherepanov explained on Facebook that he not only lost his museum but also his home.
“That’s it, the Mariupol computer museum is no longer there,” Cherapanov posted on the it8bit Club Facebook page. “All that is left from my collection that I have been collecting for 15 years is just fragments of memories on the [Facebook] page, website, and radio station of the museum.”
Cherepanov will try to continue to support his it8bit website, but understandably he has more important things to focus on right now.
Back in 2019, Gizmodo visited the museum and talked to Cherepanov. As explained in that profile, he had started collecting computers back when the Soviet bloc was creating their own PCs.
“It’s like looking into an alternative universe. The machines popular to kids growing up in the Soviet bloc look just different enough from what we’re familiar within the western world, but still carries that same sense of nostalgia you or I might get for a Commodore 64 or Macintosh II.
Cherepanov has been collecting and restoring these computers for over a decade, and his museum of PCs is a fascinating look at the wide scope of the 1980s PC revolution.”
Since the destruction of his home and collection, Cherepanov has opened up a PayPal account and is accepting donations to help him and others in Ukraine.
The ongoing and deadly invasion of Ukraine by Russia has already led to thousands dead and injured. It has also forced over 3 million people to flee the country, creating a large and growing refugee crisis.
Since the start of the invasion in February, many companies around the world — like Sony / PlayStation, Twitch, Netflix, EA Games, and Witcher devs CDPR — have pulled support from the country. Meanwhile, a growing list of nations has enacted and continued to impose strict economic sanctions against Russia.