Hello: The Apple Mac @ 40

On display December 2023–February 25, 2024

In 1984, Apple launched the Macintosh, a user-friendly computer featuring a graphical interface, icons, and a mouse—revolutionizing mass-market computing. Its accessible design made it a cult favorite and set the stage for Apple’s commitment to elegant design, brilliant marketing, and advanced engineering—values that endure four decades later.

To celebrate the Mac’s 40th birthday, CHM curated a special mini pop-up of Macintosh artifacts from both our vast collection and on loan from Apple alum, including rare prototypes and unique memorabilia. 

Check out the featured artifacts below.

The Machine

The evolution of Macintosh hardware began with wire-wrap prototypes built in the early 1980s by Apple employees Dan Kottke and Brian Howard. As the design changed throughout the development process, new versions were made. Shown below is Prototype #4.

Once the hardware was finalized using wire-wrap, a printed circuit board was designed by team member Colette Askeland for mass production. This board was very compact, allowing for the Mac’s highly portable “all-in-one” packaging. To make a complete Macintosh system, a screen, floppy disk, keyboard, mouse, and power supply were added.

Machine Artifacts

Team Artifacts


The graphical user interface (GUI) was the main innovation of the Macintosh. The GUI let people control computers using onscreen icons and images rather than by typing memorized commands. This changed computers from mysterious machines used by specialists into information processing systems and creative tools that could be easily used by anyone.

Apple’s GUI was inspired by the work of computer scientists at the nearby Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, who had demonstrated a sophisticated GUI-based system to Steve Jobs and Apple technical team members in late 1979. The 1983 Lisa—too expensive at $10,000—was Apple’s first attempt at a GUI-based computer.

GUI Artifacts

Brand Artifacts

The Fans

Apple’s loyal customers feel a strong emotional connection with the company, transforming them from customers into promoters. It’s a marketer’s dream. Beyond regularly buying new Apple products, Apple fans have shown their affection for the Mac in many different—and sometimes oddball—ways: Mac tattoos, a “MacQuarium,” Apple logo haircuts, paper Macs, Mac-inspired music, and more.

No doubt, much of this popularity was driven by Apple CEO Steve Jobs, whose charismatic personality drove the company forward with a consistent vision of technical sophistication, marketing savvy, and elegant design.

Fan Artifacts

World Artifact


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