Education Programs

School Programs

School Programs

The Computer History Museum’s vast collection of historical artifacts and multimedia is a rich resource for students in grades 3 through 12 to learn about the technological innovations that have shaped our modern world. Teachers may bring their classes for self-guided visits, docent-led gallery discussions, or interactive workshops. We build knowledge and skills through inquiry-based activities that develop observational skills, critical thinking, and creative problem solving.

Teachers' Toolkit

To help students make the most of their time at the Museum, teachers may wish to use our suggestions for Pre- and Post-Visit Activities that can be used with students before and after your visit.

School Programs

Teachers may preview the Museum free of charge to prepare for a class visit. Present valid faculty or staff identification when you arrive; advance notice of your visit is appreciated.

Education staff are always happy to assist with ideas for tailoring our content to classroom curriculum. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

Reserving Your Visit

All school and non-profit education groups of 10 or more must reserve their visits in advance. Groups with confirmed reservations receive free admission to the Museum. Due to capacity and space restrictions, we may not be able to accommodate groups who do not have advance reservations. Detailed instructions for reserving your visit may be found in Plan a School Group Visit.

Please note that our docent-led discussions and interactive workshops are currently full through May 31, 2014. Reservations for self-guided visits are still being accepted. Museum staff are happy to assist with planning; please contact us for more information.

Transportation Subsidies

Through the generosity of donors who support our Education programs, we are happy to offer financial assistance to help underwrite the cost of a Museum visit. Grants are available on a first-come, first-served visit for K-12 groups attending a docent-led discussion or workshop. These must be requested when you make your reservation; consult Plan a School Group Visit for more information.

  • Docent-Led Discussions
  • Self-Guided Visits
  • Workshops

Docent-Led Discussions

Docent-led gallery discussions are approximately one hour long and provide general overviews of our exhibitions. Docents are trained to help students look deeply and consider the relationships between historical artifacts and contemporary technology. As an added benefit, students have the opportunity to interact with professionals who have first-hand knowledge of the history of computers.

Docent-led discussions must be reserved at least six weeks in advance. All K-12 groups must arrive with two adult chaperones for every 15 students.

Self-Guided Visits

Classes may explore the Museum independently. Our exhibitions and demonstrations offer students the opportunity to view and discuss authentic historical artifacts and experience multimedia presentations as they learn about people and technologies from the first 2000 years of computing history. Teachers in every subject will find connections to their content.

Self-guided visits must be reserved at least two weeks in advance. All K-12 groups must arrive with two adult chaperones for every 15 students.


These interactive programs enable students to take a deeper look at computing history in ways that are specific to their developmental stages and abilities. All workshops integrate 21st century skills such as problem solving, questioning, collaboration, and public speaking. Programs encourage students to think critically about the relevance and ongoing impact of computer technology, and to consider their own potential as computer users and innovators in the future.

Workshops must be reserved at least six weeks in advance and groups must arrive with two adult chaperones for every 15 students. Workshops last 2 ½ hours.

"What is it?" "Did it actually work?" "How did they come up with that idea?" During three visits to the Museum, students learn how to look deeply and think critically as they explore our rich collection of historical computing artifacts. Docents guide students in interactive writing, drawing, and observational exercises, then teach them how to share their expertise. In the third session, students become the docents, leading inquiry-based discussions and sharing insights with their classmates.

This program is still in development; we welcome inquiries from teachers who would like to help us pilot it. Contact Education for more information.

How do computers fit into our lives? How did they evolve? Using lessons from the past to inform creative thinking about the future, students work with docents to explore our changing relationships to technology and to devise exciting proposals for technologies we won’t be able to live without in the future. Activities include visual analysis of complex objects through observation, discussion, and drawing.

In a fast-paced competition, teams of students try to win seed money to develop tech-based solutions for today’s global challenges. Docents and Education staff help students identify core issues, explore how similar issues were addressed by computer pioneers in the past, and pitch their ideas to investors in order to win funding. The investors? Their teachers! The competition may be hypothetical, but the lessons are real, as students and teachers alike learn about innovation and creative problem solving in the world of high technology.

This workshop is part of the Museum’s Get Invested program. For more information, see Get Invested: Case Studies in Innovation.


For More Information

650-810-1038 Group Reservations