UK National Museum of Computing at risk due to COVID-19 closure
I wanted to bring some attention to the financial challenges being faced by two computing museums in the UK - one of which is extremely important to world history.
The Centre for Computing History charts the history of computing (including the UK’s many homegrown computing successes) and provides hands-on access for schools and families to experience all levels of computing and learn about everything from online safety to how to code. It is an important educational resource and a living museum, one of the few locations where people can gets hands-on with everything from a modern PC to a Commodore PET, a PS4 to a ZX Spectrum, or a Raspberry Pi to an Apple 1.
The other is the National Museum of Computing, based at Bletchley Park in Buckinghamshire. Bletchley Park was home to the Allied cryptography effort during World War 2, as well as being home to Colossus, the world's first programmable, electronic, digital computer. It is also the site where Alan Turing worked on decrypting the German Naval Enigma. The Museum is home to the world’s largest collection of working historic computers and enables visitors to follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of the 1940s through the large systems and mainframes of the 1950s, 60s and 70s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s and beyond.
Both facilities are self-funding and receive no state grants. As a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, both sites have been shut to visitors since mid-March, with no income coming in as a result. With at least another two months before either can potentially open (and then, in a very limited capacity to preserve social distancing), both are struggling with the financial realities of the pandemic measures. Both are running modest online fundraising efforts to bring in some funds that can be used to keep the lights on and things ticking over until some semblance of normality returns. If you can help at all, it would be greatly appreciated.
I have no official link with either organisation, I'm just a computing history buff that has visited both many times and donated to both fundraisers. This post is simply intended to highlight these fundraising campaigns and encourage other (ISC)² Community members to support the efforts to keep these two facilities open, so that they can continue their valuable educational work for generations to come.
Thanks for sharing this. I was at TNMOC earlier this year and it is an amazing place that needs to be kept around. It seems like they met their funding needs at this moment but I'll definitely be looking at how to support them further.
Indeed, TNMOC completed its crowdfunding, which is very good news.
Here's a 3D-printed Bombe keyring (this is what the wheels looked like in the wartime codebreaking computer) that backers received as a thank you for supporting the museum:
3D printed 'Bombe' keyring from TNMOC
However, the Centre for Computing History still needs our support. It is half way to its fundraising goal on JustGiving. If members of our community can spare anything to support this great museum, it would go a long way to maintaining this valuable resource. Here is the link again: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/computermuseum