The Centre for Computing History

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The Centre for Computing History
Centre for Computing History.jpg
Established 2007
Location Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Type Computers
Director Jason Fitzpatrick
Public transit access Newmarket Road
Nearest car park On Site
Website computinghistory.org.uk

The Centre for Computing History (CCH) is a museum in Cambridge, England, established to create a permanent public exhibition telling the story of the Information Age.[1]

Overview[edit]

The museum acts as a repository for vintage computers and related artefacts. The museum is open Wednesdays through to Sundays from 10am to 5pm in term time and 7 days a week during school holidays.[citation needed] On display are key items from the early era of computers (and even before) from ageing comptometers through the Altair 8800 to the Sinclair ZX Spectrum and Apple II series. The museum also holds vintage games consoles, peripherals, software and an extensive collection of computer manuals, magazines and other literature. It is home to the Megaprocessor, an enormous version of a computer chip designed by James Newman[2]

History and status[edit]

The Centre is a registered educational charity.[3] It is funded by a combination of sponsors from local businesses and private individuals. Venture capitalist and entrepreneur Hermann Hauser was involved with funding discussions.[4] He became patron of the museum in December 2011, 30 years after the launch of the BBC Micro.[5] The museum is run by a board of trustees chaired by Ian Williamson.

The CCH moved to its current site in Cambridge in August 2013.[6] The museum was originally located in Haverhill, Suffolk. Plans to relocate the museum to Cambridge,[7] led to a report in October 2011 that negotiations were underway for a site.[4] The museum was informed in June 2012 that planning permission for the new Cambridge site had been granted, subject to complying with current building regulations.[8] The museum moved to a 10,500 sq ft (980 m2) site in Rene Court, off Coldham's Lane in the east side of Cambridge in summer 2013.[9]

Activities[edit]

Tour at the museum in 2016

The Centre for Computing History runs regular educational activities for schools and the general public. These range from programming workshops using 1980s BBC Micros to gaming tours to coding using software like Scratch for the Raspberry Pi.[citation needed]

The centre also loans artefacts for film and TV productions and has helped with props and sets for The IT Crowd, Brits Who Made the Modern World[10] on Channel Five with Peter Snow and in April 2009 produced the Gadget Hall of Fame[11] stand at The Gadget Show Live exhibition at the NEC in Birmingham.

The centre collects and preserves historical computing related artefacts and has undertaken a project to preserve the data from the BBC Domesday Project and make it available online. They already have data from both the National Disk and Community Disk online and are currently investigating copyright issues before releasing the URL to the general public.[12]

In June 2017, some of the centre's volunteers received recognition for their contributions to the museum at the annual SHARE Museums East Volunteer Awards.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "About the Computer Museum". The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  2. ^ "Giant £40,000 megaprocessor on display in Cambridge". Retrieved 2017-07-20. 
  3. ^ Charity Commission. The Centre for Computing History, registered charity no. 1130071. 
  4. ^ a b Vargas, Lautaro (28 October 2011). "Hauser next after museum curator's opportunistic pitch lands US VC". Cambridge Business Media. Retrieved 14 November 2011. [...] Fitzpatrick says negotiations are now underway on a 10,000 sq ft site on Coldham's Road [...] 
  5. ^ Walker, Alice (12 December 2011). "Hauser patron of new Centre for Computing History". Business Weekly. Cambridge: Q Communications. Retrieved 13 December 2011. Dr Hermann Hauser has been named as patron of the new Centre for Computing History in Cambridge UK. [...] agreed to take on the important role 30 years after the company he co-founded – Acorn Computers – unveiled the BBC Micro [...] 
  6. ^ "About the Centre for Computing History". UK: The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 16 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "A New Museum for Cambridge". The Centre for Computing History. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  8. ^ Vargas Lautaro (27 June 2012). "Council approves Cambridge computer museum, building regs hold it back". Cabume. Retrieved 29 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "IT museum in switch to its spiritual home". UK: Cambridge News. Retrieved 16 March 2018. 
  10. ^ Brits Who Made The Modern World Archived 11 September 2008 at the Wayback Machine., episode 3, Computer Games, Five.
  11. ^ Gadget Hall of Fame, The Gadget Show Live, NEC, Birmingham, UK.
  12. ^ Museum Helps BBC Domesday Reloaded Project

External links[edit]

  • The Centre for Computing History website
  • Inside a museum with byte and big dreams, East Anglian Daily Times, 3 Jun 2008 [1]
  • Haverhill's Computer Museum to feature on TV, Haverhill-UK, 20 Aug 2008 [2]
  • Haverhill's Centre for Computing History opens 13 and 14 September, Haverhill-UK, 2 Sep 2008 [3]
  • Play vintage computer games, Haverhill Echo, 11 Sep 2008 [4]
  • Museum tells story behind every screen, Cambridge Evening News, 29 Sep 2008 [5]
  • Museum props up set for hit comedy, Cambridge Evening News, 30 Dec 2008 [6]
  • Gadget Show Live — Huge success for Haverhill, Haverhill-UK, 23 Apr 2009 [7]
  • Gadget Hall of Fame: which did you own?, MSN Tech & Gadgets, 28 Apr 2009 [8]
  • BBC date for computing centre curator, Haverhill Echo, 8 Oct 2009 [9]
  • Museum-piece computers programmed into TV show, Haverhill Weekly News, 8 Oct 2009 [10]
  • Giant £40,000 megaprocessor on display in Cambridge, Cambridge Evening News, 28 Nov 2016 [11]
  • Guinness World Record for Cambridge's MegaProcessor, Cambridge Evening News, 14 Apr 2017 [12]
  • Cambridge museum celebrates history of women in computing, BBC News Cambridgeshire, 14 Oct 2017 [13]