The birth of Mountain View’s Computer History Museum began in 1968, when electrical engineer and Gordon Bell, one of the first employees of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), began to assemble an historical collection of computers. The result was the 1975 Museum Project tucked inside a DEC lobby coat closet. Over the years, the museum and its exhibits grew, moving to Massachusetts in 1978, Boston in 1984 and finally to the Silicon Valley in 1996. Called the TCM History Center, it occupied a site at Moffett Field until 2003 when it opened its new building at 1401 N. Shoreline Boulevard in Mountain View, formerly the home of Silicon Graphics.
Dedicated to the preservation and presentation of stories and artifacts of the information age, The Computer History Museum also explores the computing revolution and its significant influence on society.
With close to 90,000 items, photos and films plus thousands of feet of documentation and gigabytes of software, the CHM hold claim to the largest and most substantial collection of computer-related artifacts in the world. This includes many rare and unique objects such as a Cray-1 supercomputer, the 3D computer model of the Utah teapot, the extravagant 1969 Neiman Marcus Kitchen Computer, which sold for over $10,000, and an Apple I.
Among the museum’s physical and online exhibits are the 25,000 square foot “Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing” that opened in 2011 and covers everything from the abacus to the Internet. Other exhibits include a Computer History Timeline, Microprocessors, Google Maps with Street View and The Silicon Engine exhibit.
The CHM also hosts a variety of technological, educational and speaker events such as the March 14th International Pi Day Celebration and March 19th FIA Formula E Racing: Drive the Future speaker series. The museum’s acclaimed speaker series is also shown on KQED Silicon Valley each Tuesday at 6pm. Revolutionaries continued its fourth season beginning in January and features fascinating conversations with distinguished Silicon Valley leaders and innovators. Previous episodes can also be seen on YouTube.
Open Wednesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm, general admission starts at $15 though it can be upgraded to both a ‘Super’ and a ‘Total Geek Experience’. Complete information is available on the website.