Publication Date

March 31, 2010

Perspectives Section

Perspectives Daily

Post Type

Archives & Records, Museums


  • United States


Archives, Public History

The Computer History Museum was established in 1999, houses artifacts and exhibits in its building in California, and “seeks to preserve a comprehensive view of computing history.” If you’re not planning on making a trip to the West Coast anytime soon, just visit via the web and explore the Computer History Museum’s online exhibits. Here are just a few:

  • The Babbage Engine – Charles Babbage, the engines he built and how they worked, key people in Babbage’s life and work, and the London Science Museum’s 1985 recreation of the Difference Engine No. 2 from Babbage’s designs.
  • Selling the Computer  – Collection of marketing brochures from 1948 to 1988. Revisit advertising strategies from Apple and Atari to Xerox and Zilog. The collection is searchable by company, decade, application, and category. Or, view everything at once.
  • The Silicon Engine – Timeline of milestones (from 1833 to the 1970s) in the creation of semiconductors, as well as background on the people and companies involved.
  • Visible Storage – “Artifacts from the computing revolution,” starting with the abacus and ending with computers in the 1970s.

Visit the Computer History Museum site for more online exhibits.

Other Resources
Also check out the site’s collection of oral history transcripts, “This Day in History” feature, and YouTube Channel.

Donating Historical Materials
The Computer History Museum is looking for specific artifacts to include in an upcoming fall 2010 exhibit, “Computer History: The First 2,000 Years.” Some of the items on their artifact “wish list” include: Amstrad PenPad PDA 600, Original 1978 Speak & Spell, and Xerox PARC ashtray.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

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