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The Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
A Cray-2 supercomputer at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.
An example of Google's custom server racks on display at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View.

The Computer History Museum is a museum established in 1996 in Mountain View, California, USA



When The Computer Museum (TCM, in Boston) sent the majority of its historical collection to Moffett Field, California, so that TCM could concentrate on computing-related exhibits for children, The Computer History Museum was created. Thus, it was originally the West Coast division of The Computer Museum, named The Computer Museum History Center[1] until it shortened its name in 2001, dedicated to preserving and presenting the stories and artifacts of the information age, and exploring the computing revolution and its impact on our lives. When The Computer Museum closed in 1999, its exhibit collection was absorbed into the Museum of Science collection in Boston. In February 2000 the remaining historical artifacts were sent to The Computer Museum History Center at Moffett Field. Originally located at Moffett Field in an old building that was previously the Naval Base furniture store, the museum acquired its current building (previously occupied by Silicon Graphics), at 1401 N. Shoreline Blvd. in Mountain View, California, USA (Silicon Valley) in October 2002. It opened there to the public in June 2003.


Former media executive John Hollar was appointed CEO of The Computer History Museum in July 2008. The Museum currently has three unique exhibits highlighting important milestones from the history of computing, visible storage, the history of software/computer chess, and inventions from Silicon Valley companies and people. A Difference Engine No. 2, designed by Charles Babbage in the 1840s and constructed by the Science Museum in London is exhibited from 10 May 2008 through December 2009.[2][3]

The museum's 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) exhibit "Timeline of Computing History", covering 2,000 years of computing history will open in late 2009.

The Computer History Museum is home to the largest and most significant collection of computing artifacts in the world. This includes many rare or one-of-a-kind objects such as a Cray-1 supercomputer as well as a Cray-2, Cray-3 and on request, Cray-4 parts, the Utah teapot, the 1969 Neiman Marcus Kitchen Computer, Hewitt Crane's all-magnetic computer, an Apple I, an example of the first generation of Google's racks of custom-designed web servers[4], and the first coin-operated video game. The collection comprises nearly 50,000 objects, photographs and films, as well as 4,000 feet (1,200 m) of catalogued documentation and several hundred gigabytes of software.

One can join the group of volunteers, which includes Docents and Greeters, to help run the various activities at CHM: regular and highlight tours of the "Visible Storage", lecture series, CHM Fellow Awards, restoration of selected computers[5], archive work, collections documentation, and special events. During open hours, volunteers also demonstrate and maintain the Babbage Difference Engine #2.

Gwen Bell informally started the collection of artifacts brought by Gordon Bell (then working at Digital Equipment Corporation and working on the "Computer Structures" book with Alan Newell, CMU) with an internal DEC museum, the TCM and served as the founding President of TCM.



Tour hours are currently (2008) offered five afternoons per week on Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays 12-4, Saturdays and Sundays. Visit their website's Hours and Tours page for specific tour times. Admission is free, donations are appreciated.


External links

Other photographs from the Computer History Museum

Coordinates: 37°24′52″N 122°04′37″W / 37.414371°N 122.076817°W / 37.414371; -122.076817


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