Computer History Museum Awarded National Endowment for the Humanities Grant for Creating Long-Term Artifact Sustainability

August 15, 2016 — Mountain View, CA

The Computer History Museum (CHM), the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its ongoing impact on the human experience, today announced that it is a recipient of a Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Planning Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Through this grant, the Museum will create a plan aimed at long-term sustainability of artifact collection by identifying energy-efficient environmental improvement options for CHM facilities. The plan will be used to set work and budget priorities as well as solicit funding for actual improvements.

Two key factors that continue to challenge sustainable the Museum’s care of its artifact collection are: 1) the size, scope, and nature of computer technology as composite artifacts and 2) the current environmental control limitations of the existing facilities. A team composed of CHM collections and operations staff, an object conservator, a Museum environment specialist and a building engineer will collaborate to: 1) re-evaluate optimal environmental parameters for the range of collection types on display and in storage and identify potential risk factors which may impact long-term preventative conservation goals, and 2) determine the long-range performance, capacity and energy-usage of the current HVAC systems and identify passive and active methods to improve climate control and energy efficiency.

This proposed environmental improvement plan for the Museum follows a series of successful projects aimed at increasing access to the collection and upgrading CHM facilities. Recent grant-funded projects have focused work on physical and intellectual control of the collection resulting in expanded content of CHM’s on-line catalog. These projects occurred alongside upgrades to the buildings and enhancements to exhibitions. In addition, CHM has successfully incorporated energy-reducing initiatives such as grey water landscaping and electric-car charging stations. CHM recently initiated a general preservation assessment offered by the Balboa Arts Conservation Center which addressed the specialized needs of the archive collection. A planning grant will set a path for CHM to meet institutional goals to improve the environment for the collection according to sustainable cost-efficient and energy saving methods.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is an independent federal agency created in 1965. It is one of the largest funders of humanities programs in the United States. NEH grants typically go to cultural institutions, such as museums, archives, libraries, colleges, universities, public television, and radio stations, to strengthen teaching and learning in schools and colleges, facilitate research and original scholarship, provide opportunities for lifelong learning, preserve and provide access to cultural and educational resources, and strengthen the institutional base of the humanities.

About the Computer History Museum
The Computer History Museum (CHM) in Mountain View, California, is the world's leading institution exploring the history of computing and its impact on the human experience. The Museum is home to the largest international collection of computing artifacts in the world, encompassing computer hardware, software, documentation, ephemera, photographs, and moving images. The Museum brings computer history to life through large-scale exhibits, an acclaimed speaker series, a dynamic website, docent-led tours, and an award-winning education program. For more information and updates visit computerhistory.org.


Press Contacts:

Carina Sweet, csweet@computerhistory.org, (650) 810.1059