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Main entrance to the Museum
Nighttime view of The Tech Museum

The Tech Museum of Innovation, or simply The Tech, is a museum located in the heart of Silicon Valley, in downtown San Jose, California USA. [1]

Planning began in 1978 by members of the Junior league of Palo Alto and later assistance by the San Jose Junior league. The first 20,000 square foot (2,000 m²) temporary exhibit finally opened in 1990 “The Garage” as it was named, opened in San Jose’s former convention center. On October 31st of 1998, it opened a brand new 132,000 square feet (12,000 m²) facility, and has had 4,000,000 visitors.[2]

The museum is composed of three floors, each with its own significance. The ground floor has the main entrance, a gift shop and cafe, the Imax theater, and a recreational area that is reserved for special events. The Tech Store contains various gifts, shirts and souvenirs. Café Primavera offers a varied menu of pasta dishes, sandwiches, pizzas, soups and salads for both adults and children. The ground level is a location where Segway and other robotic demos are displayed and given. The Tech Museum's architecture is the work of Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

Four major theme galleries fill the upper level and lower level of the museum: Communication, Exploration, Innovation and Life Tech. These galleries are constantly being revamped and changed to fit the theme movies and exhibits. On the lower level there is also a public piece of artwork titled “Origin” which is inside a 45-foot tall cylinder.

The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater (named after Mike and Joan Hackworth) shows mainstream movies as well as educational films. It is Northern California’s only domed IMAX Theater and can seat up to 295 persons. IMAX stands for maximum image, the film is 4 times larger than normal movie film and the projector is as large as a Volkswagen beetle, which allows for larger projection.



The Tech has many exhibits dealing with energy efficiency, customization, exploration, and the force of gravity such as the G-Force. Students and guest can make their own contraptions using the popular board game: Mouse Trap.

On special occasions The Tech will rent out Parkside Hall from the city of San Jose to host special larger Exhibits. In 2007, this hall was the home to the exhibit know as Body Worlds 2, which brought in over 280,000 guests. In winter of 2008, there was a special Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibit (called Leonardo: 500 Years into the Future) that displayed some of his inventions, findings, and pictures. It ends January 25, 2009, after a three week extension. [3]

The museum of Innovation offers a new approach to viewing galleries from a wide variety of different media. The majority of these exhibits is interactive and allows the viewer to engage in the learning experience. The Tech also has joint partnerships with local attractions, ranging form the Jazz festival to 01 Global festival of Art.

Membership and benefits

The museum offers a variety of exclusive memberships that help fund the museum and allow for free visits. Guests can purchase memberships to obtain free admission as well as other benefits. School groups can obtain free field trips and free lab classes to help better education for students of all ages and financial background. Families can walk in and take advantage of the open access policy, which allows free visit for all guests who cant afford the museum and its experiences. As well as memberships the museum is also sponsored by various grants from leaders in technology. The money from the memberships and from grants help fund different problems that allow these free visits.

The Tech Virtual

The Tech Virtual launched in December 2007. On June 4, 2008 the world's first museum exhibits developed using this open source method opened in the museum's own Virtual Test Zone gallery. The seven exhibits, all contributed under a Creative Commons license and prototyped in the virtual world of Second Life, became part of the museum's Art, Film, Music and Games exhibition. The Virtual Test Zone gallery itself is a prototype exhibit area that will consistently feature virtual-to-real-world exhibits on specific themes resulting from The Tech Virtual programs.


See also

External links

Coordinates: 37°19′54″N 121°53′25″W / 37.3316°N 121.8902°W / 37.3316; -121.8902

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