Re: Starting on the Museum exhibits, ending on them.
My school didn't buy its first computer until the year after I left
Mine had a link to the Barnet Council Burroughs mainframe - but I didn't get to use it because I didn't do the IT A level (becuase I hadn't done the O level - even me pointing out that I built my first computer at age 12 and was programming in hex thereafter didn't get me into the A level).
However, I did get to use the BBC Micro machines that our forward-looking maths teacher had bought out of her budget and installed at the back of her classroom. Out of lesson hours, they were free for any pupil to muck about with.
Which is why the first pre-assembled computer I bought was a BBC Micro. Followed by buying a Watford ADFS board and sideways RAM/ROM card (which I then upgraded with a read/write switch to cope with those pesky ROM images that would try to self-corrupt..).
 No assembler - we didn't buy the Zeap Assembler until later. Before then it was hand-assembly all the way. Good old Nascom 1.
 Technically, my parents bought it. But it was mine dammit! And I paid for the scorchingly-fast 12/75 non-autodial modem that I used to run up my parents phone bill by making calls to the Almac BBS in Scotland..
 Well, *technically* my brother bought it since he worked for a GEC company at the time. But he didn't seem to ever use it so it ended up as mine. Possession and 9/10ths and all that.