e Computer History Exhibits

Computer History Exhibits

Web page updated 11 October 2018 to show location of Gries cabinet.

The Stanford Computer Science exhibits can be seen during university hours by visiting the Gates Information Science building or on-line.
The displays were assembled by a coalition of Stanford computer scientists and the Computer History Museum (CHM), has installed exhibits within the Gates Computer Science building containing historical equipment and documents focusing on Stanford's role in the history of computing. The exhibits are being changed and updated as time permits./BR Some notes about the history of the Stanford CS department are availble on a wiki; Contributions of additional materail are welcome

  • CHM was formerly the Computer Museum History Center (CMHC), and before that a part of The Computer Museum (TCM) in Boston.

The first floor exhibit, installed November 1997, focuses on the early history of the Stanford Computer Science Department. and its founder, George Forsythe, and his students. Further exhibits are found on all floors of the building and all can be viewed on-line if you can't make it to Stanford. We are also collecting information about the PhD students, and their students+, that have graduated from the department.

The Stanford Computer Science Department was founded on the 9th of January, 1965,
so that in 2005 it could celebrate its 40th anniversary.
The actual event took place March 21st, 2006.

2^5 th Anniversary Cake

The Participants include


The displays are spread throughout the public areas of the Gates Computer Science building, at Campus Drive and Serra street on the Stanford University campus, Stanford CA 94305-9400.
The current (May 2010) displays are

CS faculty Student Trees (Being moved)

We were developing student trees for Stanford CS faculty here.. This will be gradually moved to the to allow others to participate in upataing it, if they wish to do so. Gio Widerhold will not update this lst for faculty who joined Stanford after 2001, the year that Gio retired. Contributions there will be welcome. Access can be requested from Stanford CS Computer Facilities staff. Currently we still have an overview page of CS PHD students and many students that were supervised by CS faculty has links to the faculty trees below where the information is available.
New Historical Faculty list wiki.

Early Computers at Stanford


We have a phototour, of the Stanford Computer Science Computer History Display. The photour includes some items that are not now shown in the actual display, and includes some links to further information. The initial photographs were made by Nuriya Janss, July 1999, but are being updated as new items are put on display.
We have also posted a list with some additional pictures of our inventory items.

Meta History

Click to review the planning of the historical display and its progress.

A Brief History of Computing

is on the web pages of Jeremy Meyers: A Short History of the Computer.

There is an ever-increasing amount in information on Wikipedia, so information on specific iytems are best found there.

Other History sites

The Computer History Museum (CHM) in mountain View, CA has since October 2003 a Virtual Visible Storage.
Its predecessor is The Computer Museum (TCM) in Boston, MA.
The Digibarnis located in the Santa Cruz mountains, focuses on operational machines.
The IEEE Computer Society timeline includes images of early computing equipment.

Many Computer History Web Sites are shown here, as the Computerseum, Commercial Computing Museum., etc.

At the Computer Industry History is a collections of links to history pages by the Electronic Software Publishing Corporation.
A timeline starting 50BC focusing on industry is maintained at Bull in France.
A timeline of computer history events is available from ComputerHope, with many entries for Apple, Windows, and Unix.
A focus on Canadian Computing is maintained by Zbigniew Stachniak at York University.
The Deutsches Museum in Munich has an extensive computer section, with some pictures of their large collection of early mathematical instruments.
The University in Erlangen also displays on the floors of its department a collection of their historical old computers (incl. a Zuse Z23 from 1962), components, computing instruments, and graphics.

Megan, a student member at the Hampton Public Library has located an informative web page with a timeline of data storage, starting with magnetic tape and concluding with cloud storage.

Computing in The Netherlands is shown in a military museum and at the Computer Museum at the Vrije Universiteit which shows, among other, paper tape and analog computers.

The Vintage collection is displayed periodically in Oakland, CA; now with annual showings and sales at the CHM.
The impressive museum on office technology started by Heinz Nixdorf in Paderborn, Germany,
The Electronics Museum in San Jose, CA
The Nerds' Timeline from PBS "The Triumph of the Nerds".
The History of Computers, maintained by a computer-meeting company;
A site, "Computers: History and Development, from Jones Knowledge, which focused on hardware, but closed down in 2006.
IBM's museum is now on line, as the Antique attic, vol.1, vol.2, and vol. 3.
Interesting pictures of antique instruments for sale are found at The Gemmary, Antique Scientific Instruments, Old & Rare Books.
Folklore of computing, at Monash Univ.
Bletchley Park, Enigma and Colussus site, where Turing worked during WW II.
A glossary of terms used in the MIT Multics literature, generally useful for old computer stuff (1965-1975). Also list of their people; some S-1 references.

This page first created 31 March 1997, updated 6 August 2006 by Gio Wiederhold, email: gio@cs.stanford.edu.
We will update these webpages as we find time.