Computer History Museum

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Computer History Museum
Computer History Museum logo
place Mountain View
Science Center and Technology Museum
opening 2003
John C Hollar
CHM building in Mountain View

The Computer History Museum is a museum founded in 1996 in Mountain View in Santa Clara County in the US state of California , the preservation and presentation of the IT dedicated credit history. It houses one of the world's largest collections of computers.


Gordon Bell founded the Digital Computer Museum in 1979 with financial support from DEC . The museum opened in Camden in September 1979 .

In 1983 the name was changed to The Computer Museum and a move to Boston was planned. On November 13, 1984, the museum moved into a former warehouse that was shared with The Children's Museum of Boston . The abbreviation TCM was coined for both institutions.

The Computer Museum History Center was established in 1996 as a branch in Mountain View, Silicon Valley , and the barracks of the former furniture store at Moffett Field Naval Base served as the first location. The work order was the collection of artifacts and historical data on site for the museum.

The Boston Computer Museum closed in 1999 and the Children's Museum took over the premises. The remaining exhibits were taken over by the Science Museum in Boston.

With the exception of a large number of exhibits related to the robot collection, the Science Museum donated its computer collection to the Computer Museum History Center in 2000. It was temporarily stored in a large airship hangar at Moffett Airfield .

In 2001 the name was changed to Computer History Museum (CHM).

In 2002 the former administration building of SGI could be acquired through donations . In June 2003, operations began in the new building with a temporary exhibition. For reasons of space, only a few percent of the entire collection could be shown there; the rest was stored in warehouses in the area.

After a $ 19 million renovation lasting two years, the museum reopened in 2011 with the expanded permanent exhibition Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing .

Around 2010, the museum began with the archiving of source of important software , starting with MacPaint 1.3, consisting of Assembler and Pascal code, which by Apple Inc. was released. In 2012, the source text of the APL programming language followed . In February 2013 founded Adobe Inc. to Photoshop -1.0.1 source text for the collection, in November 2013, Apple Inc. to Apple DOS -Quelltext the Apple II . MS-DOS 1.1, MS-DOS 2.0 and Word for Windows 1.1a, donated by Microsoft, followed on March 25, 2014 . The Xerox Alto source text and other resources followed on October 21, 2014 .


The collection includes around 90,000 objects, films and photographs, as well as a large number of documents and digital data. The exhibits include rarities such as the Mulby M from Krantz Computer , built in 1970 , the Apple I , the Cray-1 , the Cray-2 , the Cray-3 and the original Utah Teapot , the Martin Newell as a model for his 3D model which is still a standard reference model for computer graphics today.

The Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum , which is based in Germany , and the Computer History Museum advertised to be the largest computer museum in the world. Compared to the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum, which has a permanent exhibition area of ​​6000 square meters, the Computer History Museum presents its exhibits on a much smaller area of ​​2300 square meters. In terms of the number of exhibits, however, the German museum is significantly behind the American one.

Computer History Museum Fellow Award

The museum has been presenting the Computer History Museum Fellow Award since 1987 . The winners are people who have made significant contributions to the advancement of computer technology. Every year, proposals for potential candidates are received from the public. This is to ensure that a wide variety of services can be considered for the award. The final selection is made by a panel of historians, scientists, representatives from industry as well as museum employees and previous award winners. The first recipient of the award was the computer pioneer Grace Murray Hopper . Other winners include Konrad Zuse , the inventor of the first computer, Steve Wozniak , who built the Apple I, and Linus Torvalds , who wrote the Linux kernel .

Web links

Commons : Computer History Museum  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  2. Backgrounder - press information on the museum website
  3. Frank Patalong: The Temple of Computer Culture. In: Spiegel online. January 23, 2011, accessed November 25, 2012 .
  4. MacPaint and QuickDraw Source Code . In: Computer History Museum . July 20, 2010. Retrieved September 2, 2014.
  5. Erik Hesseldahl: Apple Donates MacPaint Source Code To Computer History Museum . July 20, 2010. Archived from the original on February 9, 2012. Retrieved on August 23, 2014.
  6. Len Shustek: The APL Programming Language Source Code ( English ) October 10, 2012. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  7. Bryan Bishop: Adobe releases Photoshop original source code for developers nostalgic ( English ) February 14, 2013. Retrieved October 15, 2013.
  8. Adobe Photoshop Source Code
  9. Len Shustek: Apple II DOS source code ( English ) November 12, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  10. Matt Brian: Apple II's 35-year-old operating system is now open to the public ( English ) November 13, 2013. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  11. Heise online: Source texts for MS-DOS and Word for Windows published , March 25, 2014. Accessed March 25, 2014.
  12. Paul McJones: Xerox Alto Source Code - The roots of the modern personal computer ( english ) In: Software Gems: The Computer History Museum Historical Source Code Series . Computer History Museum. October 21, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2015: " With the permission of the Palo Alto Research Center, the Computer History Museum is pleased to make available, for non-commercial use only, snapshots of Alto source code, executables, documentation, font files, and other files from 1975 to 1987. "
  13. a b c Ralph Meyer: Vying for the museum crown. In: October 6, 2012, accessed November 25, 2012 .
  14. ^ Mulby M-Computer, built in 1970; Artifact details on: Computer History Museum
  15. Data & facts. In: Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum. Retrieved November 25, 2012 .
  16. ^ Fellow Awards. In: Computer History Museum. Retrieved November 25, 2012 .

Coordinates: 37 ° 24 ′ 51.7 "  N , 122 ° 4 ′ 36.5"  W.