[SIGCIS-Members] New Website on Minnesota's Computing History (and a future documentary)

Jeffrey Yost yostx003 at umn.edu
Wed Sep 26 13:21:08 PDT 2018


Dear Colleagues,

Wanted to make people aware of a public history project/partnership to
document and broadly disseminate the rich history of computing in the State
of Minnesota (Engineering Research Associates, Remington Rand,
Sperry-Univac, Control Data Corporation, Honeywell, Cray Research, Lawson
Software, IBM Rochester, etc.). Over the past year the Charles Babbage
Institute (CBI), the UMN-HSTM Program, the Minnesota Historical Society
(which provided funding through a competitive grant program for MN
history), Twin Cities Pubic Television (TPT),  the Dakota County Historical
Society and Lawshe Museum (DCHS/LM), the Minnesota High Tech Association,
and industry volunteers (Univac's VIP Club of retirees) partnered to
produce a Minnesota computing history website (and to lay the groundwork
for an upcoming documentary).

https://www.mncomputinghistory.com

The site has interactive time-lines, film/video footage, many photos,
historical essays, etc.

The project's aim was two-fold from the start, to produce this website, and
to launch the effort for a major public television documentary on the
topic.  On the latter, many dozens of hours of video interviews with more
than 30 pioneers (and historian Tom Misa, who authored *Digital State: The
Story of Minnesota's Computing Industry*) were conducted. [Tom was an
important early advisor and a major inspiration for this project.] The
final stage of fundraising is happening now to create the television
documentary. On this one-year (phase 1)  project, Univ. of Minnesota HSTM
ABD student Elizabeth Semler was the chief researcher and project manager,
HSTM Post-doc Jonathan Clemons a consulting advisor, and CBI Archivist
Amanda Wick the primary archivist advisor.  I served as the primary
historian advisor.

This project represents CBI's efforts to boost our already strong
commitment to public history and outreach, a commitment extended by CBI's
recent hire of longtime science museum curator Dr. Juliet Burba (most
recently Director of Collections at the Bakken Museum) as our Outreach
Historian and Administrator.

On a related note, we are grateful to the (Sperry-Univac) VIP Club's help,
and to Lockheed for donating extensive Sperry-Univac archives to CBI (and
important Sperry-Univac artifacts and photographs to the DCHS/Lawshe
Museum).

Best, Jeff


Jeffrey R. Yost, Ph.D.
Director, Charles Babbage Institute
Research Professor, Program in the History of Science, Technology, and
Medicine

222  21st Avenue South
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455

612 624 5050 Phone
612 625 8054 Fax
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