The National Museum of Computing gets £1M pledge

September 3, 2013 | 08:14

Tags: #charity #computer-history #the-national-museum-of-co #tim-reynolds #vintage-computing

Companies: #bletchley-park #the-national-museum-of-computing #tnmoc

The National Museum of Computing, located in the grounds of Bletchley Park, has announced receipt of its largest-ever single donation: a whopping £1 million from trustee Matt Crotty.

The museum, typically known by its initialism TNMOC, is a charitable organisation dedicated to providing hands-on access to key objects from computing history. From fully-working examples of classic PC hardware like Apple's original Lisa system to a rebuild of Colossus, the world's first electronic computer, and the Harwell Dekatron, the world's oldest working digital computer, TNMOC attracts numerous visitors despite being open only during afternoons on Thursdays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays.

However, the museum relies entirely on donations to remain operational - meaning it is often short of funds to make the most of its incredible collection of historical objects. '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,' crowed Tim Reynolds, chair of trustees at the museum, at the announcement today. 'To make this happen staff and volunteers have been working with enthusiasm, skill and patience and funders have been generous in difficult economic times.'

Crotty, technology entrepreneur and TNMOC trustee, has been more than generous with his pledge of £1 million in phased funding. '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,' explained Crotty at the announcement. '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.'

There is, however, a catch: Crotty's cash will only be provided to the museum once the Trust has found matched funding - meaning that for every pound donated, the Trust must raise a pound of its own. As a result, the Trust is expected to redouble its fundraising efforts with additional events, such as the Summer Bytes Festival which ran throughout August.

'Already the Museum is recognised as one of the top computing museums in the world, but we have only just started,' promised Reynolds. 'This new funding - the largest single private donation to any organisation on Bletchley Park - will enable us to unleash amazing potential.'

The Trust has indicated that its first priorities for the cash will be to refurbish the museum, which is housed in a block of Bletchley Park originally built for the codebreaking effort during the Second World War, and to increase its capacity both for exhibits and for visitors.

Details of TNMOC, its exhibits, how to visit and how to donate should you want to help it reach its funding goal are available on the official website.
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