AN INTERACTIVE computer museum that showcases technologies of the past, present, and future has become one of the most visited destinations in Leigh.

Envisioning the idea around five years ago, Joe Kay has spent years assembling his computer collection and has used all of his experience in IT and programming to launch the Northwest Computer Museum in June.

Located on the fourth floor of Leigh Spinners Mill, the crowdfunded museum takes visitors on a digital journey throughout the decades, with a vast range of computers on show from the Apple-1 in the 1970s to the present day.

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Leigh Journal: The museum showcases computers from the 1970sThe museum showcases computers from the 1970s (Image: Leigh Journal)
With the spirit of the museum being that it is both interactive and informative, each computer is available for visitors to play and learn on, while an educational suite teaches people computer skills and programming.

There is also the chance to play a host of video games on old consoles and arcade machines, and the museum's virtual reality and artificial intelligence stations showcase the technologies of the present and future.

Leigh Journal: The museum has tons of old games to playThe museum has tons of old games to play (Image: Leigh Journal)
After spending years collecting enough items to launch a museum, and greatly assisted by the generosity of the public, Joe said he has been blown away by the response from visitors so far.

The museum has also had rave reviews online and on Trip Advisor, with many commenting how it is a "fantastic place to visit".

Leigh Journal: The arcade room at the museumThe arcade room at the museum (Image: Leigh Journal)
Joe, who runs the museum with his wife, said: "We've had more than a thousand visitors since the official launch in June, and the museum has become a real tourist attraction in Leigh.

"We've had visitors from all over the country, as well as visits from schools and community groups, and we have a lot of people who don't want to leave or have come back time and time again.

"We wanted everything to be interactive and hands-on here so it's been great to see how interested people are in the museum."

Leigh Journal: Cafe space at the museumCafe space at the museum (Image: Leigh Journal)
In addition to the collections and machines on show, there is also the opportunity to buy gifts from the museum or grab a coffee and a bite to eat.

With aims to further expand the museum when the second mill of the Park Lane site is eventually regenerated, Joe emphasised that the business' community atmosphere is one of the things that he is most proud of.

Leigh Journal: The interactive museum has had rave reviews onlineThe interactive museum has had rave reviews online (Image: Leigh Journal)
Joe added: "The generosity of people to donate their old computers, when they found out what I was doing, has been outstanding.

"We have also had around 25 volunteers help get the museum where it is today and it really feels like a community, and that's what I love about it."

The Northwest Computer Museum is located on the fourth floor of Leigh Spinners Mill. More information can be found on their website here.