The Tech Museum of Innovation

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The Tech Museum of Art and Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation in Downtown San Jose.jpg
The Tech Museum of Innovation from Plaza de César Chávez in Downtown San Jose.
The Tech Museum of Innovation is located in San Jose, California
The Tech Museum of Innovation
Location within San Jose, California
EstablishedOctober 31, 1998; 20 years ago (1998-10-31)
LocationPlaza de César Chávez,
San Jose, California
CoordinatesCoordinates: 37°19′53″N 121°53′27″W / 37.3314374°N 121.8907276°W / 37.3314374; -121.8907276
Visitors400,000 annually
PresidentTim Ritchie
ArchitectRicardo Legorreta
Association of Science-Technology Centers

The Tech Museum of Innovation, commonly known as The Tech, is a museum of science and technology in San Jose, California, in Silicon Valley. It is located the Plaza de César Chávez in Downtown San Jose.[1] The Tech is considered one of the premier museums of science and technology in the United States.[2]


The Tech during the Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon exhibit, 2010.

Planning began in 1978 by members of the Junior League of Palo Alto and later assistance by the San Jose Junior League. The first 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) temporary exhibit finally opened in 1990 "The Garage" as it was named, opened in San Jose's former convention center. On October 31, 1998, it opened a brand-new 132,000-square-foot (12,300 m2) facility and has had 4,000,000 visitors.[3]

The museum is composed of three floors, each with its own significance. The ground floor includes The Tech Store, The Tech Cafe, the IMAX® Dome Theater and a recreational area that is reserved for special events. The Tech's architecture is the work of Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.[4]

Four major theme galleries fill the Upper Level and Lower Level of the museum: Communication, Exploration, Innovation and Life Tech. These galleries are constantly being revamped and changed to fit the theme movies and exhibits. On the Lower Level there is also a public piece of artwork titled Origin, which is inside a 45-foot-tall (14 m) cylinder.[5]

The Tech Museum of Innovation reflects its social context, capturing Silicon Valley's celebration of technology with a fascination with what the museum's literature refers to as the "gizmos and gadgets" produced by Valley companies. Early reviews, however, criticized The Tech for failing to provide a coherent direction or message.[6]


The Tech's Google Earth exhibit.
An atrium at The Tech.

The Tech has many exhibits dealing with energy efficiency, customization, exploration and genetics.

The Tech Museum of Innovation offers a new approach to viewing galleries from a wide variety of different media. The majority of these exhibits are interactive and allows the viewer to engage in the learning experience. The Tech also has joint partnerships with local attractions, ranging from jazz festivals to the Global Festival of Art.

The IMAX Dome Theater [7] shows mainstream movies as well as educational films. It is Northern California's only domed IMAX Theater and can seat up to 280 people.[8]

Social robots[edit]

The Tech has an interactive exhibit where people can design and build robots.[9]

The Tech Studio[edit]

The Tech created an open-to-the-public workshop space where the in-house prototypers build new exhibits.[10]

Temporary exhibitions[edit]

On special occasions The Tech will rent out Parkside Hall from the City of San José to host special larger exhibits. In 2007, this hall was the home to the exhibit known as Body Worlds 2, which brought in over 280,000 guests. In winter of 2008, there was a special Leonardo da Vinci exhibit (called Leonardo: 500 Years into the Future) that displayed some of his inventions, findings and pictures. It ended January 25, 2009, after a three-week extension.[11]

The Tech formerly hosted Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.[12]

The Tech opened a new exhibition on Digital Music in March 2014,[13] called REBOOT:music, including Tim Thompson's Space Palette.[14]

The Tech Virtual[edit]

The Tech Virtual launched in December 2007. On June 4, 2008, the world's first museum exhibits developed using this open source method opened in the museum's own Virtual Test Zone gallery. The seven exhibits, all contributed under a Creative Commons license and prototyped in the virtual world of Second Life, became part of the museum's Art, Film, Music and Games exhibition. The Virtual Test Zone gallery itself is a prototype exhibit area that will consistently feature virtual-to-real-world exhibits on specific themes resulting from The Tech Virtual programs.


The Tech is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit.[15]

The Tech Awards[edit]

The Tech Awards is a program of The Tech wherein a yearly ceremony is held for individuals and organizations to get recognition for their technological contributions to improving the human condition.

The Tech Challenge[edit]

The Tech Challenge is a signature program of The Tech. It is a design challenge competition for students Grades 5–12.[16]

Over the past 26 years, The Tech Challenge had around 17,000 students compete by building devices to solve issues such as wildfires, fish removal and landing on an asteroid.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Technology Museums". City of San Jose and San Jose State University. Archived from the original on 2010-06-13. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  2. ^ Visit San Jose - The Tech Museum
  3. ^ "About Us: The Tech Today". The Tech Museum of Innovation. Archived from the original on 2008-12-20. Retrieved 2008-12-21.
  4. ^ Herhold, Scott. "Herhold: Designer of two San Jose museums dies in Mexico". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 13 March 2014.
  5. ^ "Origin" (PDF). City of San Jose. Archived from the original (PDF) on 11 March 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  6. ^ Perrin, Andrew (2002). "Making Silicon Valley : Culture, Representation, and Technology at the Tech Museum". The Communication Review. 5 (2): 91. doi:10.1080/10714420212479.
  7. ^ Kaplan, Tracey (2012-04-25). "Michael L. Hackworth - Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist - dies at 71". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 5 March 2014.
  8. ^ . IMAX Retrieved 5 March 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  9. ^ Deinzer, Erin Caslavka. "Places where you can interact with robots". SF Gate. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  10. ^ Chan, Norman. "Exhibit Design at The Tech Museum of Innovation". Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-01-21. Retrieved 2009-01-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ Alton, Elizabeth. "'Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination' Makes Its Final Stop". Entertainment Designer. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
  14. ^ Mosher, Mark. "Tim Thompson's Space Palette at The Tech Museum of Innovation REBOOT:Music Exhibit in San Jose". Modulate this!. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
  15. ^ "The Tech Museum of Innovation". Charity Navigator.
  16. ^ "The Tech Challenge - About Us". The Tech Museum of Innovation. Retrieved 2013-03-14.
  17. ^ "Cupertino Students Blow Out the Tech Challenge". Cupertino Patch. Retrieved 2014-02-06.

External links[edit]