New Software Gallery opens at TNMOC

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Young people invited to participate in 'The Grand Digital', a new computing world record attempt

A new Software Gallery was opened yesterday at The National Museum of Computing by Sir Charles Dunstone, Chairman of The Carphone Warehouse Group and TalkTalk Group. The new gallery, sponsored by InsightSoftware.com, traces the development of computing software from its beginnings on huge computers to its presence in everyday household items. The Software Gallery complements the unrivalled collection of seven decades of working hardware on display at the Museum.

Sir Charles Dunstone said: "This is my first visit to The National Museum of Computing and I have been astonished at the amazing displays of working vintage computers. The Museum dramatically demonstrates the pace of change in computing since Colossus, the world's first electronic computer, a British first which has been such a well-kept secret and which the Museum displays so well as a working rebuild. Since then hardware and software have combined to give consumers access to so much information in a way that could not have been conceived of even a few years ago. I was particularly impressed to see the enthusiasm and wonder of a party of school pupils learning about their computer heritage as I toured the new Gallery and the Museum."

The new Software Gallery, laid out in four quadrants, includes:

  • a wall-sized programming language timeline

  • an 'exploded' PC showing its internal components

  • a robotics display

  • a computer language database, already containing 2000 entries to which visitors can add

  • an early, single-purpose accounting software machine, the Burroughs L5000

  • a display demonstrating the pervasiveness of software in the home

  • a special programming challenge for visitors and other hands-on exhibits.

The Gallery has been created by an assembly of TNMOC volunteers led by Jill Clarke and Bob Jones and has been entirely sponsored by Insightsoftware.com, flexible ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) reporting software provider.

Matt Crotty, Chairman of Insightsoftware.com, the Gallery sponsors, and also a TNMOC trustee, said: "The new Software Gallery tackles a very wide-ranging and difficult subject area with creativity and flair. We are delighted with the result and very pleased that so many of our customers have been eager to come to see it."

Jill Clarke, TNMOC Volunteer whose brainchild the Software Gallery was, said: "Our Museum has some of the most amazing working hardware on display, but as a software engineer, I felt we were missing a huge part of the computing heritage story: the development of software. It's been hard work but great fun compiling the Gallery and we look forward to receiving feedback from our ever-growing number of visitors."

Tim Reynolds, Chairman of TNMOC, said "It is a privilege to be Chairman of an organisation with such dynamic staff and volunteers. We have lots of great ideas and realistic plans to develop the Museum further as one of the top computing museums in the world. I urge the IT industry to follow the generous example set by Insightsoftware.com to support us in that aim."

In performing the opening, Sir Charles Dunstone also announced a competition for young people to participate in 'The Grand Digital', a potential new computing world record to be attempted at the Museum later this year. The same software program will be run sequentially on computers from each of the seven decades of computing since the 1950s. Young people will be invited to enter a competition to become operators of the seven computers that will be selected to demonstrate the amazing progress and power of computing.

The new Software Gallery and all the other displays can be visited whenever the Museum is fully open. For opening times, see www.tnmoc.org

Notes To Editors

About The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing, located at Bletchley Park, is an independent charity housing the largest collection of functional historic computers in Europe, including a rebuilt Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer and the WITCH, the world's oldest working digital computer. The Museum 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.

Funders of the Museum include Bletchley Park Capital Partners, CreateOnline, Ceravision, InsightSoftware.com, Google UK, PGP Corporation, IBM, NPL, HP Labs, BCS, the Drapers' Foundation, Black Marble, and the School of Computer Science at the University of Hertfordshire.

The Museum is currently open to the public on Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 1pm, and on Bank Holidays in spring and summer. Guided tours are also available at 2.30pm on Tuesdays (and Sundays if the Museum is not fully open). There are often additional opening times for the public -- see the website or the iPhone app for updates. Educational and corporate groups are very welcome and possible on any day or evening by prior arrangement.

For more information, see www.tnmoc.org
follow @tnmoc on Twitter
The National Museum of Computing on Facebook and Google+.
A TNMOC iPhone App is also now available from the iPhone App Store.

Media Contacts
Stephen Fleming
Palam Communications for TNMOC
t +44 (0) 1635 299116
e sfleming@palam.co.uk

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