The West Coast version of a Smithsonian is one way to characterize the Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, CA. This was one of many takeaways from an excellent discussion of this Silicon Valley institution with CHM president and CEO, John Hollar, and CHM chairman, Len Shustek. Organized and moderated by IEEE Silicon Valley Technology History Committee Chairman, Alan Weissberger, this panel covered a wide range of topics from computer history to how the Computer History Museum is providing computer learning opportunities to disadvantaged youth.
Shustek told his story of what brought him to the West Coast and how he went from academia to entrepreneur to a leader in preserving computing history. Similarly, John Hollar explained his journey from FCC lawyer to PBS executive to president of an organization that is using the past to help Silicon Valley see the road ahead. Shustek and Hollar painted a vision of how the CHM will continue to develop and remain relevant and how unique programs, such as the Revolutionaries TV/lecture series, promote the mission of the CHM. As was pointed out, the CHM aspires to be and is a museum that transcends the borders of its Silicon Valley home and encompasses computing regardless of place and time.
Note: The complete 1.5-hour panel discussion can be viewed in the above player. To see snippets from the panel, please go to: