Photo Computer History Museum

The renovated Computer History Museum in Mountain View reopens to the public today. From the museum site:

The Museum is now home to the world’s largest collection of computing history materials, with over 100,000 artifacts, objects, and ephemera ranging from ancient calculating devices to the first Google server…

The renovated 120,000 square foot Museum building offers 25,000 square feet of exhibition space, more than doubling the previous space allocated to exhibitions, allowing the Museum to greatly expand both its exhibition and programming focus. As part of the Museum’s $19 million renovation, it also increased the size and technological scope of its conservation facilities and office spaces, as well as adding new education facilities and increasing the public spaces to include a 5,000 square foot lobby that houses an orientation theater, museum store and café. The Museum’s new facilities and exhibition program offer an accessible, multi-layered approach to storytelling that suits a variety of learning styles, both on-site and online.

San Jose Mercury News columnist Mike Cassidy, for one, is into it. He writes:

“We should all be happy. The renovated museum…will be a must-see for tourists, I think, while inspiring coming generations to take up the hard work of technology. It stands as a tangible shrine to Silicon Valley and now takes its place as one of the valley’s most important cultural institutions.”

A photo slideshow of the museum is embedded in his column.

The debut exhibit is called Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing. If you can’t make it over the museum, at least make it over to the web site, which will soon be augmented into a destination befitting its topic, according to the museum, but is currently replete with interesting material, nonetheless. For instance:

The museum also has a number of events on tap, including one coming up on Jan 27, when Jane Smiley, author of The Man Who Invented the Computer: The Biography of John Atanasoff, Digital Pioneer, will be interviewed by the museum’s John C. Hollar.

Despite the unconscionable whitewashing of the chaos caused by one rogue computer in 2001, the expanded experience could make an exploratory trip well worth the proverbial while. The museum is open Wednesday – Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Directions here.


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor for KQED's daily health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED News Fix.

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