ICOM * Virtual Library * Museums * Computing * Pioneers

[Babbage Difference Engine]

The Virtual Museum of Computing

Now accessible as: vmoc.museophile.com

This virtual museum includes an eclectic collection of World Wide Web (WWW) hyperlinks connected with the history of computing and on-line computer-based exhibits available both locally and around the world. [VISITOR NUMBER]

This museum opened on 1st June 1995. The museum receives about 200 visitors each day. Please contact Jonathan Bowen if you know of relevant on-line information not included here.

Mirror sites are available in Sweden and USA courtesy of ICOM, and also elsewhere, including the UK, if you experience poor access speed. Automatic redirection to a mirror site is available.

Selected recent additions and events

(New) Edgar (Ted) Codd (1923-2003), inventor of the relational database model, died on 18 April 2003.

Roger Needham (1935-2003) died on 28 February 2003.

Allan Bromley, who researched Charles Babbage's drawings of the Difference Engine extensively in the London Science Museum archive, died in August 2002. This work led to the building of the Difference Engine No. 2, now on display in the Science Museum Computing Gallery in London.

Edsger Wybe Dijkstra (1930-2002), died on 6 August 2002. See obituary.

Both co-inventors of Simula 67, the first object-oriented programming language, died in 2002.
Ole-Johan Dahl (1931-2002) died on 29 June 2002.
Kristen Nygaard (1926-2002) died on 10 August 2002.

Business Computing: the Second 50 Years, The Guildhall, London, UK, 5-6 November 2001. A conference celebrating the 50th anniversary of LEO, the world's first business computer. See programme.

Program Verification and Semantics: The Early Work, seminar, Science Museum, London, 5 June 2001.

Tom Kilburn (1921-2001), Manchester University, UK, died on 17 January 2001.

William Hewlett (1913-2001), co-founder of HP, died on 12 January 2001.

Donald Davies (1924-2000), packet switching pioneer at NPL, died on 28 May 2000. See ISOC information.

ACE 2000 CONFERENCE 50th anniversary of the ACE computer, Science Museum, London, 18 May 2000 & National Physical Laboratory, UK, 19 May 2000.

EDSAC 99, 50th Anniversary of the EDSAC 1 computer, Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, UK, 15-16 April 1999.

50th Anniversary of Joe Lyons' decision to give the go ahead to the building of LEO 1, 15 October 1999.

(New) Tommy Flowers, MBE, codebreaking engineer at Bletchley Park who worked on Colossus, died on 28 October 1998, aged 92. (Born on 22 December 1905.)

In Memory of Internet Pioneer Jon Postel, died October 1998.
See also tribute from IANA and In Memoriam from the Domain Name Handbook
(Memorial service, 5 November 1998.)

50th Anniversary of the First Stored-Program Computer, Manchester, UK, 21 June 1998.

Memorials to Alan Turing - a new English Heritage blue plaque memorial as Code-breaker and Pioneer of Computer Science was unveiled by Andrew Hodges (Turing's biographer) at his birthplace in London, UK, on Turing's 86th birthday, 23 June 1998.

International Conference on the History of Computing, Paderborn, Germany, 14-16 August 1998.

Computers in Europe: Past, Present and Future International Symposium, Kiev, Ukraine, 6-8 October 1998.

1st Vintage Computer Festival, Alameda County Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, California, USA, 25-26 October 1997.

Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, San Jose, California, USA, 19-21 September 1997.

See also other History of Computing conferences.


Local virtual exhibits

Items marked `Recommended' are especially recommended.

If you would like to volunteer to be a virtual curator on some aspect of the history of computing, please get in touch, preferably with a URL for the "gallery" or on-line exhibit which you would like included.

The museum has no on-line shop as yet, but feel free to try some virtual shopping.

You may also be interested in a list of books on the history of computing, available for sale from Blackwell's Bookshop, Oxford.

Corporate history and overviews

More on-line history from other computer companies not mentioned above would be especially welcome for inclusion.

History of computing organizations

See also:

General historical information

Computer-related museums

  1. American Computer Museum, Bozeman, Montana, USA.
  2. American University Computing History Museum, Washington DC, USA.
  3. Bletchley Park Trust, near Milton Keynes, UK. "Britain's Best Kept Secret." See Computer Museum. See also Codes and Ciphers in the Second World War by Tony Sale and the (New) British Bombe rebuild project. (Recommended)
  4. Commercial Computing Museum (Commputerseum), Ontario, Canada. Dedicated to the acquisition, preservation, and exhibition of artifacts and memorabilia from the commercial use of electronic, digital computers. Includes a list of Computer History Web Sites.
  5. The Computer History Museum, Moffett Field, California, USA. (Recommended)
  6. The Computer Museum, Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Started by Ken Olsen, ex-president of Digital Equipment Corporation. Part of the Museum of Science since 1999.
  7. Computer Museum, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Specializes in scientific and industrial computing. Includes electronic calculators, analog computers, core memory and paper tape.
  8. Computer Museum, Department of Computer Science, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.
  9. Computer Museum of America, Coleman College, La Mesa, San Diego, California, USA. See sample collections and The Evolution of Computing slide show.
  10. The DigiBarn Computer Museum, California, USA.
  11. Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum, Paderborn, Germany. See computer museum. (In German.)
  12. The Intel Museum, Santa Clara, California, USA. Micro-chips, from the company who manufactured the first microprocessor in 1971.
  13. Microsoft Museum. (Warning: may crash Netscape browsers! ;-)
  14. Musée d'Histoire Informatique (Computer History Museum). A virtual museum on personal computers from 1978 onwards, by Philippe Dubois. See also the Pong story on the first video game. (In French.)
  15. Museu Virtual da Informática, Portugal. A virtual museum including a number of computers such as the ENIAC. (Mostly in Portuguese.)
  16. Museum of Computer Technology, Denver, Colorado, USA.
  17. Museum of HP Calculators (MoHPC). Learn about reverse Polish notation! (Recommended)
  18. Museum "Waalsdorp", The Netherlands. See computer history of the TNO Physics and Electronics Laboratory since 1927. Supercomputers, minicomuters, etc., with many photographs. (In Dutch and some English.)
  19. National Cryptologic Museum, National Security Agency, Maryland, USA. See tour of exhibits.
  20. National Museum of Computing Instruments, Pisa, Italy. Includes QuickTime VR plugin movies. (In Italian.)
  21. National Museum of Information Technology and Telecommunications, Brasília, Brazil.
  22. Personal Computer Museum, Stenungsund, Sweden. In the Guinness Book of Records because of its collection of 250 different personal computers.
  23. Rhode Island Computer Museum, USA.
  24. The Science Museum, London, UK. See Computing and Information Technology collection, the Computing Then and Now gallery information Babbage's Calculating Engines, 1832-71 and the Pilot ACE 1950. Alternatively, see the recommended Computing Then and Now page from the Treasures of the Science Museum on-line exhibit. See also the recently acquired Phillips Economic Hydraulic Computer, first demonstrated at the London School of Economics in November 1949.
  25. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, USA. Computer History, including an Information Age Tour, the collaborative Innovation Network, and oral/video history interviews with computing personalities. See also From Carbons to Computers including links to resources. (Recommended)
  26. Tech Museum of Innovation, San Jose, California, USA. Includes a microelectronics exhibit.
  27. Telemuseum, Sweden. History of telecommunications.
  28. The Topeka Computing Museum, Kansas, USA.
  29. University of California at Davis Computer Science Museum, USA. Includes a timeline of computer history.

See also:

On-line exhibits and information

The following are virtual museums or exhibitions:

Personal collections

Selected newsgroups

See also:

Computer simulators

See also:

The future

This section includes information on the future of computing and networking.

Other links


This virtual museum is mentioned in the following locations: (New) See also Computer History links from the Google Directory. (Recommended)

This virtual museum service is brought to you by Jonathan Bowen as part of the Virtual Library museums pages (VLmp), supported by ICOM.
Last updated 13 April 2003.