Tozo: The best things happen spontaneously, and that's how this museum was created. In the early 2000s, I met Tomislav Ribičić (Riba) through a website that brought together collectors of old computers. The two of us were the only ones from Rijeka at the time. Soon Dario Džimbeg, who was also from our region, came to this site. This acquaintance resulted in the exhibition of old computers "Retrobit" in CTK Rijeka in Školjić in 2003. Goran Paulin from DIR (ITTAR - IT Talents Association of Rijeka) was there too, and said that it would be nice to have this kind of an exhibition as a permanent exhibition in a museum. It was a few more years before we got into this. The trigger was a youth TV show where they announced that such a museum might be opening in Zagreb. That was the tipping point; not everything of worth will be in Zagreb! In 2007 we met at a pub, I came up with the idea to Riba and Dario, and Riba gave the name to the project: PEEK&POKE! Afterwards I went to Kreativni odjel (Creative Department), a small multimedia agency where Davor Pasarić and Goran Paulin, both big computer enthusiasts from ITTAR, work. I discussed the idea of renting a museum space from the City of Rijeka and asked them if they wanted to get involved and help. They told me that I was completely crazy and that it would be difficult to turn such a museum into something sustainable in a small town, but that I would have their help if I decide to do it, and that their agency would stand behind the project and produce everything related to video, print, graphic and web design. Well, the goal was to endure a year, and here we are!
Davor: Today, PEEK&POKE is a well-recognized and an award-winning museum, but also a museum that covers not only computers but all technology that in any way deals with data processing, data transmission and data storage. Throughout the years, PEEK&POKE has also become a place for learning and socializing. In 2007 we had no idea that in 2019, for the first time, something Croatian would appear in the orbit of the Earth and that it would be something related to our museum!
PEEK&POKE is not a "carefully planned project" but the fruit of more than a decade of work on educating children, which was recognized by the commander of the International Space Station, Alexsey Ovchinin. His space postcard to our PEEK&POKE Computer Museum confirms that our enthusiasm to educate children about computer science, robotics and astrophysics is the right path. At the same time it’s an inspiration to today's kids that anything is possible, even from a small Croatia.
Our efforts, dedication, and a unique approach to running a museum aren't only "visible from space", but recognised by the man who is in a great way responsible for the creation of many of our exhibits. In 2014, we have recieved a short greeting from the legendary co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak. His good wishes and support means a lot to us! Now we know that our volunteering is worthwhile because it created something positive and recognizable. Thanks Woz, we will continue to grow, educate and preserve our computer history!
Josip: The PEEK&POKE Computer Museum has far outgrown the existing 300 m2 of space. In addition to the permanent exhibition, PEEK&POKE is proactive in organizing related thematic exhibitions in cooperation with other museums, as well as other cultural events, from lectures and workshops to concerts. As much as we love this space because it has a special charm, it no longer meets the needs as we have enough exhibits for over 1,000 m2 of exhibition space. We want to move to a more suitable space and take the project to the next level so that the younger generations can learn more about the technological future that is coming at a faster and faster pace.