“Preserving the history of computing”
The Computer History Museum explains the history of computing and has many exhibits that do this. It also has many virtual online exhibits that can be reached by people all over the world. The museum's origins date to 1968 when Gordon Bell began a quest for a historical collection and, at that same time, others were looking to preserve the Whirlwind computer. The resulting Museum Project had its first exhibit in 1975, located in a converted coat closet in a DEC lobby. In 1978, the museum, now The Digital Computer Museum (TDCM), moved to a larger DEC lobby in Marlboro, Mass. Maurice Wilkes presented the first lecture at TDCM in 1979 – the presentation of such lectures has continued to the present time. TDCM incorporated as The Computer Museum (TCM) in 1982. In 1984, TCM moved to Boston, locating on Museum Wharf. In 1996/1997, The TCM History Center (TCMHC) in Silicon Valley was established; a site at Moffet Field was provided by NASA (an old building that was previously the Naval Base furniture store) and a large number of artifacts were shipped there from TCM. In 1999, TCMHC incorporated and TCM ceased operation, shipping its remaining artifacts to TCMHC in 2000. The name TCM had been retained by the Boston Museum of Science so, in 2000, the name TCMHC was changed to Computer History Museum (CHM). In 2003, CHM opened its new building (previously occupied by Silicon Graphics), at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd in Mountain View, California, to the public. The Computer History Museum claims to house the largest and most significant collection of computing artifacts in the world (the Heinz Nixdorf Museum, Paderborn, Germany, has more items on display but a far smaller total collection). This includes many rare or one-of-a-kind objects such as a Cray-1 supercomputer as well as a Cray-2, Cray-3, the Utah teapot, the 1969 Neiman Marcus Kitchen Computer, an Apple I, and an example of the first generation of Google's racks of custom-designed web servers. The collection comprises nearly 90,000 objects, photographs and films, as well as 4,000 feet of cataloged documentation and several hundred gigabytes of software.
I brought my class here from a college in Stockton Ca, I thought the Museum was great. It had true history with informative staff which really seemed to enjoy their job.
They even managed to teach me something. But you have to be a real tech geek to really enjoy this place to it’s fullest. But it not just computers. Their gift shop had a new still in box Rock’em Sock’em Robots which I have not seen in years. I highly recommend this place.
Your inner tech-geek will buzz in excitement when walking through the Computer History Museum exhibitions. The paradox of using your modern phone to take Instagram photos of some of the earliest computers that take up an entire wall only adds to the digital era timeline exhibited throughout its galleries.
We think a visit here is one of the best things to do in San Jose!
I personally found it pretty boring but I’m not a computer person. My husband is and he LOVED it. It’s well curated and a nice museum though and super informative so if you’re into science and computers and the history of it all this is a must visit. The employees were nice and it didn’t feel like security was breathing down your neck at all times.
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Computer History Museum
- Sun, Wed - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
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