This a museum dedicated to the Spectrum computer, developed in England. The idea of creating the space came from João Diogo Ramos.
The opening of the museum arises not only from João Diogo Ramos' passion for the field but also from the historical importance that the Spectrum computer from the 1980’s has in Portugal. According to the founder of the museum, the computer is in the memory of generations at the time in Portugal, and they may have been “the first computers in people's homes.” The device gains even more important because it appeared at a time when many homes in Portugal did not have a television, or if families had one there would be only two broadcast television channels.
A story to honour
João Diogo Ramos considers himself an entrepreneur, as such, he thought that "this story deserved to be honoured", not only because of people's taste for Spectrum but also to make known, to those who do not know, a device that crossed generations and provided good results, and memories, for many people. The materials on display are the result of a vast collection of products made by the founder of the museum in Cantanhede. The lack of space in his area gave him two options: either he started selling his collection materials, or he found a partner who would help him make everything he collected available to the public.
The city of Cantanhede was chosen, mainly for personal reasons. João Diogo Ramos was born in Cantanhede and it was in the city that he spent most of his life. Escaping the centralisation of the two Portuguese metropolises was also an objective. Therefore, Coimbra and Cantanhede would be the two cities to consider opening the Load ZX Spectrum Museum. João Diogo Ramos contacted the University of Coimbra who “had other concerns” and did not give the expected attention, but with the Municipality of Cantanhede the project began to take another direction.
Despite the long waiting time for the first meeting, the public interest was assessed for a definitive exhibition that focused on the English computer and its history in Portugal. A temporary exhibition was then held that “attracted thousands of people” and various media. After the success of the exhibition, the council gave up the space of an old school for the assembly of the definitive exhibition of the Load ZX Spectrum Museum.
Those who visit the museum will have a lot to explore. The circuit is divided into three spaces and “begins with a section dedicated to Clive Sinclair”, the creator of the Spectrum computer. This section ends up having a connection with the present because according to what João Diogo Ramos told The Portugal News, recent devices such as smartphones use materials and techniques from the time of the creation of Spectrum.
In a second section, there is the recreation of a Portuguese room from the 80s with various elements linked to the time, from paintings to electronic devices. There is a room full of televisions “with Sinclair interview content” and there is also a “timeline diagram with all the computers.” Those who visit the museum will not only be able to observe the exhibited material, João Diogo Ramos allows visitors to use the computers available.
João Diogo Ramos plans to expand the space and add “an additional playroom”, similar to the game rooms of the 80s and add “things like virtual reality.” New partnerships would have to be established, mainly with schools.
The museum is the second most visited attraction in Cantanhede, receiving around 90 visitors per month.