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Dec. 4, 2001

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-3937 or 650/604-9000

Karen Mathews

Computer History Museum, Moffett Field, Calif.

Phone: 650/604-2568


Media representatives are invited to attend a news conference on Friday, Dec. 7, 2001, at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. At that time, NASA will announce plans to establish the Computer History Museum’s interim building at the NASA Research Park. The news conference will begin at 11 a.m. PST, in the Moffett Training and Conference Center, Bldg. 3. Preceding the news conference, media are invited to take a special tour of the museum’s computer artifacts starting at 10 a.m. PST, in Bldg. 126, located across the street on Severyns Avenue. A luncheon will follow.


The Computer History Museum, which contains one of the world’s largest collections of computing artifacts, will unveil plans on Friday, Dec. 7, 2001, to build a 41,000-square-foot facility near historic Hangar One in the proposed NASA Research Park.

NASA Ames Research Center Director Dr. Henry McDonald and Computer History Museum Executive Director & CEO John C. Toole will head a panel discussion about the museum’s role in the NASA Research Park and the plans for its new facility. Other distinguished panelists will include Leonard J. Shustek, chairman of the board of trustees of the Computer History Museum; Donna Dubinsky, museum trustee and CEO of Handspring, Inc., Mountain View, Calif.; and Bill Campbell, chairman of the board, Intuit, Inc., Mountain View, Calif.

"Our goal is to develop a world-class, shared-use R&D campus by partnering with industry, academia and cultural institutions in the NASA Research Park," McDonald said. "I am delighted to further this partnership with the Computer History Museum, a unique and important international resource for research and understanding of the origins and evolution of information technology."

Scheduled to open next summer, the temporary facility will be called ‘The Beta Building,’ in reference to a computer industry term for a product in its early phases and an indication that there is more to come – a prelude to the museum’s permanent facility scheduled to open in 2005. Formerly known as The Computer Museum History Center, the renamed Computer History Museum also has a new logo, depicting the history of computing.

When the 41,000-square-foot Beta Building is completed, it will contain 22,500 square feet for artifact storage; 9,000 square feet for exhibits and events; and 9,500 square feet of office space. The Beta Building will double the museum’s current storage space and allow it to increase its collection.

According to Shustek, the Beta Building will allow the museum to increase its public presence in Silicon Valley. "For the past few years, museum staff, collection, exhibits and programs have been located in five, distributed buildings at Moffett Field. The Beta Building will allow us to consolidate into one main space while the permanent building process is completed. We believe that opening the temporary space before the permanent museum opens in 2005 will enable more of the public to experience the artifacts and stories of a technological revolution that has changed the world."

"The museum is moving toward a new level of public exposure for the community, the nation and the world," said Toole. "The Beta Building will give us an opportunity to expand our operations for several years and manage a dynamic process to collect the stories and artifacts of the information age," he added.

At the news conference, museum officials also will announce the appointment of Head Curator Michael R. Williams, an internationally renowned computer historian. A recipient of numerous honors and awards, Williams has published many books, articles and technical reviews during his 30-year career as an educator and curator at several different universities and at the National Museum of American History (Smithsonian Institution). He also served as editor-in-chief of The Annals of the History of Computing.

Daniel, Mann, Johnson, Mendenhall, Holmes and Narver (DMJMH+N), an architecture, engineering, and construction services firm with offices in San Francisco and around the world will design the museum’s Beta Building. Esherick, Homsey, Dodge & Davis, an architecture, interior design and graphic design firm with offices in San Francisco, Chicago and Monterey, Calif., will design the museum’s permanent facility. Premier museum exhibit design firm Van Sickle & Rolleri, of Medford, N. J., will help design the new museum’s exhibits.

The Computer History Museum, previously part of the former Boston Computer Museum, is based at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif.—the heart of Silicon Valley—and is an international resource for in-depth information about the history of computing. Its five separate collections contain over 50,000 individual objects, including hardware, films, photographs and historical software, as well as extensive document archives. The museum is one of the leading partners in the proposed NASA Research Park and will soon break ground for its permanent facility in front of historic Hangar One at Moffett Field.

NASA Ames Research Center recently announced the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations to develop the land at Moffett Field under NASA ownership. The proposed developments include the area called the NASA Research Park in which the academic, industry and nonprofit partners hope to conduct their collaborative research and education programs. Upon the successful completion of the environmental review processes, a Land Use Agreement may be signed and construction of the museum’s permanent building may begin.

In addition to a permanent home for the Computer History Museum, NASA Research Park also will house facilities for the Carl Sagan Center for the Study of Life in the Cosmos, Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science, the University of California at Santa Cruz, San Jose State University’s Metropolitan Technology Center and the California Air and Space Center.

For further details, see the museum’s website at:

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