The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park has been pledged its largest ever single donation of £1 million and is seeking the required matched funding to double its value.
The donation will be phased as matching funding is received and will enable the museum to develop its enormous potential. Early priorities include refurbishing the museum and increasing its capacity for visitors and exhibits.
The museum already houses the world’s largest selection of working historic computers including the rebuild of Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer, and the Harwell Dekatron or WITCH computer, the world’s oldest working digital computer.
Through a series of galleries, museum visitors can trace the development of computing from the pioneering work of the 1940s to the present day. Most displays are designed to give visitors hands-on access in a highly dynamic and enjoyable learning environment.
Tim Reynolds, chairman of trustees of TNMOC, is delighted with the news. He said: “Despite modest budgets, high rent, and a challenging economic climate, TNMOC has opened six acclaimed and genuinely unique new galleries in the past four years. To make this happen staff and volunteers have been working with enthusiasm, skill and patience and funders have been generous in difficult economic times.
“Already the Museum is recognised as one of the top computing museums in the world, but we have only just started. This new funding -- the largest single private donation to any organisation on Bletchley Park -- will enable us to unleash amazing potential.”
The donor, Matt Crotty, a technology entrepreneur and a trustee of TNMOC, said; “To help the development of a museum such as this is an exceptional opportunity that comes once in a lifetime.
“I have watched this organisation grow and make astonishing achievements with very limited funding. My decision to donate has also been motivated by the increasing public awareness of the significance of digital heritage and the role and understanding it can play in inspiring current and future generations to become engineers and computer scientists.”
The Museum has just completed its first Summer Bytes Festival, an August-long event designed to encourage young people to be creative rather than just consumers of technology.
Its learning programme for educational visits will recommence when term starts and its corporate visiting program is developing rapidly. Another new gallery will be opening shortly.
Pictured, above, is the late Tony Sale, co-founder of The National Museum of Computing at the Colossus Rebuild which he was instrumental in re-creating.