Computer History Museum

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Computer History Museum. 1401 N Shoreline Blvd. / Mountain View, CA 94043 / USA (phone: 650.810.1010). Web site: <>.

"The collections document the Information Age in the United States and its ongoing impact on society, from 1921 through 2010, with the bulk of the material from 1945 through 1998." Exhibits include:[1]

"Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing," offering "an array of original multimedia experiences that chronicle the history of computing on a global scale, from the abacus to the smartphone."

"Thinking Big: Ada, Countess of Lovelace," with references also to the work of Charles Babbage and others.
"Make Software: Change the World!" or at least the World of Warcraft. The exhibit "explores the history, impact, and technology behind seven game-changing applications: MP3, Photoshop, MRI, Car Crash Simulation, Wikipedia, Texting, and World of Warcraft. The Stata Family Foundation Software Lab is at the center of the exhibition, where visitors are introduced to basic programming concepts and encouraged to try coding hands-on."

PDP-1 Demo Lab centers on a "minicomputer" weighing in at one English ton, "designed in 1959 by Digital Equipment Corporation," and which "captivated an early generation of hackers," i.e., computer enthusiasts, "with revolutionary real-time capability, interactivity, graphics and an addictive game called SpaceWar! This box-like device prompted Rolling Stone magazine to head an article, "Ready or not. Computers are coming to the people."[2]

IBM 1401 Demo Lab, which "re-creates a working medium-sized computer operation from the 1960s, including working keypunches, printers, card readers, sorters and tape drives."[3]

When Erlich visited there was also an exhibit "Where To? A History of Autonomous" — i.e., self-driving — "Vehicles."

On loan between May 2008 and January 2016: "The Babbage Difference Engline No. 2," planned in 1834 and built in 1991.[4] Note for Gibson and Sterling's The Difference Engine, q.v. Between 28 May and October 2016 the museum exhibited a reconstruction GeoCities, once a huge on-line virtual community, erased by Yahoo but reconstructed by "hacker preservationists."[5]

There are also on-line Exhibits: "on a variety of topics related to the history of computing. Some online exhibits like Revolution and The Babbage Engine complement physical exhibits at the museum. "Other online exhibits are available only through the Internet and extend the reach of the Museum to virtual visitors around the world."[6]

RDE, Initial Compiler, 10/X/17