Institution: Computer History Museum
Revolution: The First 2000 Years of Computing
The First 2000 Years of Computing is the core exhibition of the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley. With anonymous funding, the Museum invited VisitorStudies.com to conduct a full summative evaluation of this 25,000 square foot, encyclopedic exhibition. I collaborated with Dr. Elsa Bailey to design and conduct cued exit surveys, exit interviews, intercept interviews, a tracking and timing study, targeted observations and a follow-up telephone interview study. We also developed a scale of technical savviness for respondents to rate themselves; this helped the Museum understand their audience, and gave more depth to our analysis. Overall, respondents were enormously positive about the experience and wanted to spend more time in the exhibition. Mostly insiders to the industry, these computer aficionados were thrilled to see their personal histories on display. It provided them with a trip down memory lane, and a way to explain their work to their families. Findings also suggested a need for physical and thematic orientation for visitors, regardless of their technological savviness.