Great Computing Museums of the World

A great two-part series on great computing museums from the last few issues of Communications of the ACM (here and here).

The museums they profile are:

I'll include an extra bit from the first CACM article on the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. I'm choosing that one because as it happens I'll almost certainly be visiting it this coming July. I'm fortunate to have been invited to the annual Science Foo Camp, which happens to be at the Googleplex in Mountain View.

Research Activities. The CHM wishes to become an important part of the academic research community on computing history, but it has only taken small steps so far: organizing topical conferences and workshops, collecting oral histories, and publishing papers and articles.

The CHM scope (and collection) is international, but the museum's physical presence is in the heart of Silicon Valley in California. The CHM owns a 120,000 square foot modern building on seven acres--lots of free parking is a real asset here!--in a prominent location in Mountain View. The CHM also owns a 25,000 square foot warehouse 20 minutes away, where most of the 90% of the collection that is not on exhibit at any particular time is stored in climate-controlled conditions and is available to researchers.

The Computer History Museum is a work in progress. We like to think of ourselves as a startup with a 30-year history. We welcome the opportunity to work with people and organizations that resonate with our mission and our goals.

My own institution, York University, has a Computer Museum dedicated to the history of the Canadian computing industry. It's housed in the Computer Science & Engineering Department and run by Prof. Zbigniew Stachniak. You can visit by appointment.


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I only visited CHM once, with a group from MFPOW, several years back. Impressive, and very much a work in progress. You should love it. (And boy, is it convenient from the Googleplex--not a bad walk, actually.)

Walt, thanks. I'm looking forward to visiting and I did notice on Google Maps that the museum is only a short distance from the Googleplex. I'm not sure where I'll be staying but I can't imagine it'll be too far away.

Also, it's too bad you don't live in Mountain View anymore...

That link for the CHM seems to be bogus and lead to a domain squatter.

Thanks, Siamang. It's fixed now. I had an extra "-" in the url.