NERAM: where old is the new cool

A BLAST from the past may be the best way to describe a new exhibition at Armidale’s New England Regional Art Museum.

BC: Before Computers opened at the gallery at the end of March, a showcase of the gizmos and gadgetry once an integral part of our world but now relegated to storage boxes and museums as technology has overtaken them.

Remember blackboards came long before Blackberry, dictaphones before mobile phones and the days when apple only referred to a piece of fruit?

“For the older audience the exhibition will trigger all sorts of memories, while for younger people there’ll be things they’ve never seen before,” NERAM co-curator Christine Durham said.

An old red phone box is one of the dominant and more popular pieces, but the 1980s Walkman, early calculators, manual switchboard and even a typewriter are also generating a lot of interest.

“We had to order a new ribbon for the typewriter on the internet,” Ms Durham laughed, proof if ever you needed it that old and new can still co-exist.

The reactions have been one of the highlights, particularly those of the under-30s.

“They think really old is the new new – they think these things are cool,” she laughed.

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