[SIGCIS-Members] The Computer Museum, Boston

Ceruzzi, Paul CeruzziP at si.edu
Tue Mar 3 06:17:34 PST 2015

As many of you know, the current Computer History Museum began in Boston as the Computer Museum (and before that in Marlborough, Mass. as the Digital Computer Museum). Gordon Bell has compiled an exhaustive set of materials that document its history and the fantastic programs that the museum sponsored. I had the great privilege of working there in the summer of 1984, helping with the move from Marlborough to Museum Wharf, and it was a memorable experience.  Here is Gordon's compilation:

Paul E. Ceruzzi, 


As a founder (with Ken Olsen and Gwen Bell) of The Computer Museum, that started in Marlborough, and moved to Boston, TCM is alive, well and growing at:
An article on the  history of TCM is at <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/outoftheclosetV2.3.pdf>.is attached.
An  overview of the galleries aka rooms as a guide on how to visit TCM is at  <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/ClickTour.pdf>. 
The <http://TCM.ComputerHistory.org>. is a cybermuseum providing accessibility to all aspects of The Computer Museum in Boston (c1979-2000).
A visitor can walk along the timeline as a guide  to:
.         View and attend a lecture e.g. the first ones by JV Atanasoff, the inventor of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer
Or hear what the first useful stored program computer was and how it was programmed by Prof. Maurice V. Wilkes, of Cambridge U.  
Or listen to Bob Noyce explain the first integrated circuit invention at the opening of TCM, Boston in 1984
Or a talk by me on The Computer Pioneers in the Videos room <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/videos.html>. 
.         Replay or recall  the East-West Computer Bowls over their 10 year history. <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/computerbowl.html>. 
View all the book of questions from this 1988-98 era when the web was born at <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/computerbowl/OfficialComputerBowlTriviaBook1996.pdf>. 
.         Visit the physical  exhibits that were at TCM The large scale walk-through computer can be revisited with a guide:
Computer Chronicles toured TCM, Marlboro, MA in 1983 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IBNft6RAijg>. 
.         The Museum Catalog (namely what are the museum's holdings) as a publication. 
<http://tcm.computerhistory.org/CHMfiles/Digital%20Computer%20Museum%20Catalog%201981.pdf>. Ed Thelen scanned the original <http://ed-thelen.org/comp-hist/1981Catalog.html>. A Museum Catalog is itself an artifact of 20th century museums before search. The catalog was eventually published in the Reports (see 400 page compendium of all the reports xxx)
.         View all  the documents that described the Museum in roughly 350 scanned files: Reports, Annual Reports with ISDNs, <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/reports.html>. 
Posters announcing the lectures and pioneers, store catalogs, Timeline Posters and Product Trees, flyers, awards, PR releases, and more.
.         Pioneer Computers Room holds all the computers that were at TCM including documents, photos, stories, etc.
.         Backroom look at artifacts 
.         Back Office working files used for design etc. All the available scanned  files including deliberation and sounds of gnashing of the teeth especially all the correspondence of Gordon Bell asking for support <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/Gwen_and_Gordon_Bell_TCM_Files/TCM_CGB_solicitation_etc_letters_1979-1984.pdf>. Note some of the 30+ year ago, 1984 Asks (Begs( include Brook Byers, Ed DeCastro, Bill Gates, Bernie Gordon, Regis McKenna, Heinz Nixdorf Max Palevsky, Tom Perkins, Bill Perry, John Pierce, Ben Rosen, Al Shughart and many more.
.         Governance files of BOD, etc. especially later ones from Gardner Hendrie's period as Chairman that he had retained.
.         A BLOG (TBD) Participate in a blog e.g. comments by former board members, comments re. particular artifacts, talks, etc.
The Computer Museum Archive website is a place to view all the extent material of The Computer Museum whereby one can go immediately to an exhibit, event, etc. and 350+ files that is part of CHM: <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/>. 
For the historian, downloading the Museum Reports, 1979-1988  and Annual Reports 1988-1998 xxx describe the events from the opening in 1975 at Digital and in Marlborough MA, though the museum's move to Boston and eventually to Mountain View's Moffett Field, CA.
It is a work in progress that will continue to evolve and hopefully attract more content. However with all the files and publications, there is value for history 
The timeline is the best way to visit TCM
Note the 1000 x 15,000 pixels timeline on the site chronicling events and exhibits <http://tcm.computerhistory.org/Timeline/timeline7draft.htm>.
The goals is to be able to traverse it and to see and hear content of those days. You have to look at the items and then use some imagination but eventually all will be hot linked to something interesting to see/hear! We will be experimenting with wider, deeper, and different timelines¬this one was events that were rendered from XLSX.

CHM has a few links to enable the TCM part of the museum to be found <http://www.computerhistory.org/chmhistory/>.
The Computer Museum, Boston on Wikipedia has a nice story of TCM.
Oliver Strimpel used archived items and made a really complete and compelling story of TCM on Wikipedia.
The site is beginning to fulfil a view of a Cyber Museums being a dusty place that you might want (some else) to visit. 
The particular joy of this site is that it is an experiment. so if you have something that you believe someone else associated with TCM will want, we'll host it.
Gordon Bell.
Researcher Emeritus, Microsoft Research
Office: 835 Market St. Suite 700; San Francisco 94103
Homes: 611 Washington Street, #2502, San Francisco, CA 94111
Aurora Place, 25/155 Macquarie Street; Sydney, NSW 2000
Phones: 415 972 6542; cell 415 640 8255; (61) 0413 072 915; home 415 392 3272, (61) 2 9247 9998
http://TCM.ComputerHistory.org  for a visit to The Computer Museum in cyberspace

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