Product Story on Display in Charleston at Southeast’s Only Apple Museum | Company
Ernest Andrade’s face lights up as he picks up a flying saucer-like object from one of the shelves that line a wall on the second floor of the Charleston Tech Center, home to the only Apple product museum in the South -is.
“This is an original graphite AirPort base station released by Apple in 1999,” said Andrade, the founder and director of Charleston Digital Corridor, who was entrusted with the hardware and 74 other original Apple products from the collection of Noah Schiffman and Jan Schiffman.
The siblings inherited the technology from their father, who was a curious pack rat, Andrade said.
“He bought the tech, brought it home, and let the boys tinker with it.”
The DIY paid off.
Today, Jan Schiffman is vice president of product development at Oracle in the San Francisco Bay Area. His brother is the chief technology advisor for KBR Inc. in Charleston.
The collection ended up being scattered around their homes and garages until the Charleston Digital Corridor provided them with a permanent home.
Sitting atop carefully streamlined shelves made of Baltic birch plywood – the same ones used to make the booths that invite workers from the more than 700 companies that operate in the building to work in open spaces, mingle or just hang out. sit and enjoy the new museum which opened to the public on July 22. The exhibit includes Apple computers dating back to 1979, original iPods, monitors, keyboards, mice and computer accessories like the iSight – a brand name used by the tech giant to refer to cameras on various devices .
At each exhibit is a simple barcode tag that visitors can scan to take them to an information page describing the history of what they are viewing.
“The display had to be bespoke. It had to fit Apple products, be streamlined and sexy,” Andrade said. “Apple is synonymous with performance and design.”
While the first instinct might be to call the collection kitsch, sitting among Apple’s 40+ years of innovation under the leadership of late visionary co-founder Steve Jobs becomes more than just nostalgia, it becomes an impressive experience.
“You can see how the company has grown from its roots in manufacturing personal computers into the consumer electronics business with over $200 billion in cash and investments that it is today,” Andrade said.
While everyone is welcome — in its first week the museum attracted 20 street visitors — “we are especially looking forward to welcoming students and school-aged visitors,” Andrade said.
The museum welcomed its first group of 34 high school students – most from the Lowcountry but some from Seattle, Texas, Atlanta and Rock Hill – who participated in a week-long program focusing on science, technology, engineering and math. at the College of Charleston.
During the busy week, students explored a variety of topics including weather, the environment, human disease, math, and robotics. It ended with a visit to the Charleston Tech Center and its brand new attraction.
“While the students had varying interests, they all immediately turned to the Apple Museum and started conversations with each other about the generations of technology on display,” said Sebastian van Delden, dean of the science faculty. and Mathematics from the College of Charleston. .
On the way back, van Delden said he overheard the 16-year-olds talking about “how cool the museum was”. One said, “I didn’t even know Apple did that.”
The students are one of the main reasons Andrade decided to establish the museum at the technology center on Morrison Drive.
“The community has an obligation to guide a person,” Andrade said. “We want students and other museum visitors to have the opportunity to see how far technology has come and perhaps imagine where they can take it in the future.”
The collection is a means of nurturing the cultural dynamism of the region. “We are excited to further invest in supporting this culture with this broad line of Apple products,” Andrade said.
Plans are underway to expand the museum with a second unit that will house another 50 products, including the original advertisement, after it has been cleaned and researched. Apple equipment donations and monetary contributions are welcome to help complete the collection.
Andrade said some historic products have sold in the hundreds of thousands at auction. Equipment donations can help the museum retain additional pieces through trade. They can purchase other items with cash donations to “fill in the gaps” in the collection.
This can include up-to-date technology, and Andrade is exploring the possibility of partnering with the Apple Store in King Street to display some of the latest innovations.
Interactive sessions with volunteer tech experts demonstrating old work equipment are also under consideration.