CHM’s programs inform our ongoing work and commitment to decoding technology for individuals, communities, and humanity. Our programs explore technology through specialized lenses to help us better understand the past, contextualize the present, and look ahead to the future.
The Fellow Awards Program honors distinguished technology pioneers—unsung heroes and legends—for their outstanding merit and significant contributions that have advanced computing, illuminated our world, and propelled humanity forward. This prestigious program is supported with collecting, education, research, and media efforts that reflect the seminal work of each Fellow and further the Museum’s mission to decode technology for everyone. Fellows are selected annually through a public nomination process.
Learn more about this year’s honorees and the 2021 Fellow Awards.
The Patrick J. McGovern Tech for Humanity Prize program is part of CHM’s expanding work in advancing tech for humanity—to address urgent grand challenges of our digital age, shine the light on visionary role models, accelerate the work and impact of changemakers, build a diverse community of people around the globe committed to tech for good, and inspire the next generation of innovators and changemakers. With support from the Patrick J. McGovern Foundation, the annual prize honors technology journalism pioneer Pat McGovern, an early affiliate of the Museum. The prize recognizes luminaries and changemakers who are using technology to shape a better future for humanity. Luminaries are nominated by a prestigious committee that also selects Changemakers, who apply in a public process and receive $100,000 in awards to advance their projects.
The Internet History Program records the history of the online world, including the web, the internet, and mobile data. Launched in 2009, it is one of the first general programs in this area by a major historical institution. The program addresses networking as both a technical invention and a new mass medium with a growing role in society. Its main work includes growing CHM’s world-class collection of networking history materials, scholarly activities, developing public events, and curating both permanent and temporary exhibits related to the online world.
Corporate History Partnerships aim to preserve business history and company stories in Silicon Valley and across the globe to expand our collective history. Archivists and curators leverage CHM’s unique expertise, brand, and marketing skills along with decades of experience in establishing business archives and producing exhibits and oral histories. Current partnerships include the Center for Cisco Heritage and the Google Founders Collection.
The stories of our Fellow Award honorees are preserved for future generations in our Hall of Fellows. Past Fellows include NASA’s Margaret Hamilton, the World Wide Web’s Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Pixar’s Ed Catmull, SRI’s Doug Engelbart, NASA’s Katherine Johnson, and Apple’s Steve Wozniak.
Today’s urgent issues differ slightly from the 1960s. Climate change has nudged out overpopulation and pollution, while nuclear war and hunger remain high on the list. But we still face the same mismatch that worried Engelbart. As the general pace of change accelerates, problems grow in complexity far faster than our ability to solve them. Can Engelbart’s techniques for accelerating change solve today’s great problems? On December 12, 2018, futurist Paul Saffo moderated a panel of experts to deliberate the question. Panelists included Stanford marine biologist and National Geographic Explorer Erika Woolsey, Managing Director of Nsquare.org Erika Gregory, and cofounder of Change.org Ben Rattray.
The Google Founders Collection contains artifacts, documents, photographs and video from the first 10 years of Google’s development. Part of the archive is composed of items gathered from the personal collections of some of the earliest Google team members. The initial collection was assembled within Google by VP of Product Management Richard Holden under the leadership of Susan Wojcicki, now CEO of YouTube, who housed Google’s early-stage operation—led by cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin—in her home in Menlo Park, CA.
Dr. Yvonne Cagle, NASA astronaut, accepts the CHM Fellow Award on behalf of her heroine NASA mathematician and “hidden figure no longer” Katherine Johnson. Johnson was honored at the Museum’s 2019 Fellow Awards gala for her exceptional calculations during the US space programs that brought the first humans to the Moon.
Founded in 2013, the Center for Cisco Heritage aims to preserve the company’s three-decade history and journey to becoming a worldwide leader in networking. The collaboration taps into CHM’s extensive experience in computing history and archives management. Leading the effort is CHM’s Senior Director of Research Archives Paula Jabloner. In 2016 the center became its own LLC, with Don Proctor as its CEO, with an endowment to provide long-term, sustainable preservation.