The Computer History Museum announced today that renowned computing historian, Doron Swade, has joined the Museum team as guest curator of its "Timeline of Computing History," a hallmark exhibit scheduled for debut in 2009 and made possible by a $15 million dollar gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation late last year.
In support of its international collection and exhibit plans, the Museum also announced that it has acquired an extensive collection totaling seven shipping containers of computing objects salvaged from a crumbling warehouse in Dortmund, Germany this month. The rescued items, along with related documents and software, will augment the Museum's existing 80,000-object collection that will be used to populate the 2009 exhibit.
"Doron Swade is a world authority on the history and pre-history of modern computing. His deep museum experience and understanding of our unique collection will bring a new dimension and advance our efforts to tell the global computing story," said John C. Toole, executive director & CEO of the Computer History Museum. "Doron's commitment to the Timeline exhibit, combined with recent, important additions to the Museum's international holdings, represent key milestones in our continuing expansion plans," said Toole.
"Electronic computers are an extraordinary invention and part of an age of astonishing growth. We have here a wonderful opportunity to trace their technical and cultural history-from pebbles to micro-chips, from antiquity to the Web-and to make sense of its meaning through a major exhibition. The Computer History Museum holds a defining collection of electronic computing machines. What better place to tell the tale," said Swade.
Swade's most recent positions were with the Royal College of Art in London and the University of Portsmouth as visiting professor. Prior to that, he was the assistant director and head of collections for the Science Museum in London.
The historic collection from Germany was rescued from an open-air warehouse that encompassed a physical area of about 12,000 square feet. There are 112 unique manufacturers represented, including Telefunken, Siemens, Zuse, Olivetti and Groupe Bull. European-based manufacturers account for 50% of the acquired artifacts and another 20% in documentation and software. In addition to many rare computer systems, the rescued items will deepen the Museum's holdings of electromechanical-era objects, as well as mainframe documentation and software.
The Museum celebrates computing history and its people through an acclaimed speaker series, dynamic website and other public events. CHM also offers self- and docent-led tours of "Visible Storage," a display of 600 items from its collection. Its newest exhibit, "Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess," opened in September 2005, joining its other popular exhibit, "Innovation in the Valley." Future phases will feature full exhibits and educational programs, including the Museum's signature "Timeline of Computing History" scheduled to open in the fall of 2009, theme galleries, a research center, and much more. Please visit www.computerhistory.org or call 650.810.1010 for hours of operation and tour times. Admission is free.