The Brazilian Computer History Museum

Surrounded by the lessons of history, the Computer Museum in São Paulo, Brazil reopened last April/ 2005. A nice chance for the public to view some of the 5,000 computer artifacts in its new 11.000 sq.m home.



The museum exhibit showcases about 500 of the collection's most notable artifacts. Among them twoimposing Remington Rand tabulators,the 1401 first IBM computer --with just 4 kb memory, a B500 Burroughs, a PDP8E machine etc.



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Sitting inconspicuously on a shelf is an Apple Mac 128 , the 1981 machine that helped set off the personal computing revolution.


The permanent exposition takes the heading of "the Time Tunnel " and covers in chronological way all the evolution of the Computing History, divided in four thematic galleries. The first one, is the age Pré-Computer hat go of the Abacus, instrument to make accounts bred has 4,000 years, until the decade of 40 of century 20.
The second is the Analogical Age, where the first computers with ferrite memory , perforating of cards, valves, etc, appears.

After that, in the decades of 70 and 80, the Room of the Mainframes, weighed up to 10 tons, the minicomputers, the 8 inches floppy of allowed for the room of the computers manufactured in Brazil (Labo, Sid, Scopus, Prológica and others), the room of the Telecommunications, that show some of the first teletypes until the Internet and, finally, the age of the Microprocessors, with the first Personal Computers, the Portable ones weighing 20 pounds , the Games Video of the decade of 80, and the historia of softwares arriving a unit of the wearable Computer of the Xybernaut. Beyond the permanent exposition, the Museum also organizes itinerantes expositions in public places, as Mall's, cultural and leisure centers as well as in shows and exibitions.

The Computer Museun is a non-profit organization, whose main objective is to recoup, to conserve and to display the public, computers and devices that retrace the history and the evolution of the computation and computer science in Brazil and the world. Constituted in 1999, the Museum comes, since then, receiving donations from an enormous number of collaborators, between them public universities, government, private companies and hundreds of individuals.
Currently it is considered by Harvard-Smithsonian Institute as one of the quantities most complete of the world, besides being recognized as the only Latin America museum dedicated to the Information Technology and Computing preservation, spreading and education.


The Museum was a dream- turned to reality- by Jose Carlos Valle 59, computer technician, who, with his wife Direc,since 1998, started to collect parts and pieces . "Our project goes beyond a simple equipment exposition -says Valle- The mission of the Computer Museum is to contribute for a technological, scientific, social and cultural improvement in Brazil and also, with the reduction of the" digital exclusion" for poor people".



For this, the Museum keep permanent programs of free group visitation to the people of devoid communities, will offer to computers with Internet and tools of software for cultural expression, as well as a series of monitored workshops and mini-courses, free training and chances to get a job in the museologic areas, restoration, research, organization of events, communications and arts.


Besides displaying all the history of the computation and computer science in Brazil, based for the historical, cultural contexts, politicians, scientific, economic and social in which was present at distinct moments, the Museum has as objective to participate of the research, update and preservation of the computer science history and the evolution.

Most of the collection has been assembled through donations; the museum gets about 5 calls a week from people seeking to unload old hardware. More often than not, it has to decline computers that are too common or already in the collection.



Other computers have slipped into history so quickly that the museum has had difficulty acquiring them before they became expensive collector's items. Lately museum staff have taken to calling computer makers and asking them to donate their current models, before they become obsolete. Mr. Valle said that some hardware makers are unnerved by the idea that their latest device is a museum-piece-in-waiting.

"All knowledge will be always accessible to all and any person. We also want to publish books and to produce sets of documents regarding the diverse areas related to the evolution of computer science in Brazil", explains Valle. To date the nonprofit museum , ''The fund-raising is harder than ever, but it really helps having a building, something real to show people.''

The Museum is often apears in Radio/TV/Journals and Magazines, also the most important Talk-show in Brazil.

The Computer Museum's exhibition, is open by appointment for schools and group tours from Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm., and goes public at Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Reservations by phone at (011) 5521-3655 or eventos@museudocomputador.com.br.