The Computer History Museum Launches New Exhibit to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Integrated Circuit

Mountain View, California  |  July 01, 2009

The Computer History Museum (CHM) announced that “The Silicon Engine,” a new exhibit to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the integrated circuit (IC), opens today. The exhibit presents the history and innovations of the IC and is part of the “Salute to the Semiconductor,” a year-long program celebrating the evolution and contributions of semiconductor technology.

The exhibit draws on the Computer History Museum’s extensive collection of oral histories gathered from leading pioneers in the field of semiconductors. It features a multi-screen theater, which will show an 8-minute documentary on the invention of the transistor, its role as a building block of the integrated circuit, the rapid growth of semiconductors and the profound effect these technologies have had on modern life.

“The integrated circuit was a breakthrough that revolutionized the world,” said John Hollar, CHM’s President and CEO. “The Computer History Museum is uniquely positioned to celebrate this fundamental technology in a way that no other institution in the world can. The narratives behind the integrated circuit are just the types of stories that only CHM can help illustrate with our collection of artifacts, oral histories and interpretative displays. We’re thrilled to spearhead these celebrations to honor such a remarkable innovation.”

The exhibit also features artifacts from CHM’s collection and two personal viewing stations where visitors can select and view multiple excerpts of technology pioneers discussing their work and its impact. Kirsten Tashev, the Museum’s VP of Collections and Exhibits, and David Laws, Staff Director of the Museum’s Semiconductor Special Interest Group, co-curated this exhibit.

Major funding is provided by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Additional support is provided by Intel Corporation.

For the online exhibition of the Silicon Engine, please visit: To view transcripts from our oral histories collection, please visit:

About the Computer History Museum

The Computer History Museum (CHM), in Mountain View, Calif. is a nonprofit organization with a four-decade history. The Museum is dedicated to the preservation and celebration of computer history, and is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs and moving images.
CHM brings computer history to life through an acclaimed speaker series, dynamic website, onsite tours, as well as physical and online exhibits. Current exhibits include “Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine No. 2,” “Mastering the Game: A History of Computer Chess,” “Innovation in the Valley” – a look at Silicon Valley startups – and the unique “Visible Storage Gallery,” featuring over 600 key objects from the collection.

The signature “Computer History: The First 2,000 Years” exhibit will open in late 2010.

For more information, visit or call (650) 810-1010.

Press Contacts

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(650) 810-1059


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