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The Tech Museum of Innovation

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Title: The Tech Museum of Innovation  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: San Jose, California, Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose, Circle of Palms Plaza, List of attractions in Silicon Valley, The Tech
Collection: Association of Science-Technology Centers Member Institutions, Children's Museums in California, Computer Museums in California, Domes, Imax Venues, Museums Established in 1990, Museums in San Jose, California, Non-Profit Organizations, Non-Profit Organizations Based in the United States, Science and Technology in the San Francisco Bay Area, Science Centers, Science Museums in California, Technology Museums in California, Visitor Attractions in Silicon Valley
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

The Tech Museum of Innovation

The Tech Museum of Art and Innovation
The Tech Museum of Innovation in Downtown San Jose
Established October 31, 1998 (1998-10-31)
Location San Jose, California, US
Type Science
Visitors Approximately 400,000 visits annually
President Tim Ritchie
Public transit access Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority
Website .org.thetechwww
Association of Science-Technology Centers

The Tech Museum of Innovation, or simply The Tech, is a museum located in the heart of Silicon Valley, in downtown San Jose, California, United States.[1] The Tech is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit.[2]


  • History 1
  • Exhibits 2
    • Social Robots 2.1
    • Studio 2.2
    • Temporary exhibitions 2.3
    • The Tech Virtual 2.4
  • The Tech Awards 3
  • The Tech Challenge 4
  • Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Planning began in 1978 by members of the Junior League of Palo Alto and later assistance by the San Jose Junior League. The first 20,000-square-foot (1,900 m2) temporary exhibit finally opened in 1990 “The Garage” as it was named, opened in San Jose’s former convention center. On October 31, 1998, it opened a brand-new 132,000-square-foot (12,300 m2) facility, and has had 4,000,000 visitors.[3]

The museum is composed of three floors, each with its own significance. The ground floor has the main entrance, a gift shop and cafe, the Imax theater, and a recreational area that is reserved for special events. The Tech Museum's architecture is the work of Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.[4]

Four major theme galleries fill the upper level and lower level of the museum: Communication, Exploration, Innovation and Life Tech. These galleries are constantly being revamped and changed to fit the theme movies and exhibits. On the lower level there is also a public piece of artwork titled Origin, which is inside a 45-foot-tall (14 m) cylinder.[5]

The Tech Museum reflects its social context, capturing Silicon Valley's celebration of technology with a fascination with what the museum’s literature refers to as the “gizmos and gadgets” produced by Valley companies. Early reviews, however, criticized The Tech for failing to provide a coherent direction or message.[6]


The Tech has many exhibits dealing with energy efficiency, customization, exploration, and genetics.

The museum of Innovation offers a new approach to viewing galleries from a wide variety of different media. The majority of these exhibits is interactive and allows the viewer to engage in the learning experience. The Tech also has joint partnerships with local attractions, ranging from jazz festivals to the Global Festival of Art.

Social Robots

The Tech has an interactive exhibit where you can design and build robots.[7]


The Tech created an open-to-the-public workshop space where the in-house prototypers build new exhibits.[8]

Temporary exhibitions

On special occasions The Tech will rent out Parkside Hall from the city of San Jose to host special larger Exhibits. In 2007, this hall was the home to the exhibit known as Body Worlds 2, which brought in over 280,000 guests. In winter of 2008, there was a special Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit (called Leonardo: 500 Years into the Future) that displayed some of his inventions, findings, and pictures. It ended January 25, 2009, after a three-week extension.[9]

The Tech formerly hosted Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination.[10]

The Tech opened a new exhibition on Digital Music in March 2014,[11] called REBOOT:music, including Tim Thompson's Space Palette.[12]

The Tech Virtual

The Tech Virtual launched in December 2007. On June 4, 2008, the world's first museum exhibits developed using this open source method opened in the museum's own Virtual Test Zone gallery. The seven exhibits, all contributed under a Creative Commons license and prototyped in the virtual world of Second Life, became part of the museum's Art, Film, Music and Games exhibition. The Virtual Test Zone gallery itself is a prototype exhibit area that will consistently feature virtual-to-real-world exhibits on specific themes resulting from The Tech Virtual programs.

The Tech Awards

The Tech Awards is a program of the Tech wherein a yearly ceremony is held for individuals and organizations to get recognition for their technological contributions to improving the human condition.

The Tech Challenge

The Tech Challenge is a signature program of The Tech. It is a design challenge competition for students grades 5-12.[13]

Over the past 26 years, The Tech Challenge had around 17,000 students compete by building devices to solve issues such as wildfires, fish removal, and landing on an asteroid.[14]

Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater

The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater (named after Mike and Joan Hackworth)[15] shows mainstream movies as well as educational films. It is Northern California’s only domed IMAX Theater and can seat up to 280 people. IMAX stands for maximum image; the film is four times larger than normal movie film, and the projector is as large as a Volkswagen Beetle, which allows for larger projection.[16]

See also


  1. ^ "Technology Museums".  
  2. ^ "The Tech Museum of Innovation". Charity Navigator. 
  3. ^ "About Us: The Tech Today". The Tech Museum of Innovation. Retrieved 2008-12-21. 
  4. ^ Herhold, Scott. "Herhold: Designer of two San Jose museums dies in Mexico". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 13 March 2014. 
  5. ^ "Origin" (PDF). City of San Jose. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  6. ^ Perrin, Andrew (2002). "Making Silicon Valley : Culture, Representation, and Technology at the Tech Museum". The Communication Review 5 (2): 91.  
  7. ^ Deinzer, Erin Caslavka. "Places where you can interact with robots". SF Gate. Retrieved 11 March 2014. 
  8. ^ Chan, Norman. "Exhibit Design at The Tech Museum of Innovation". Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ Alton, Elizabeth. "‘Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination’ Makes Its Final Stop". Entertainment Designer. Retrieved 7 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Mosher, Mark. "Tim Thompson's Space Palette at The Tech Museum of Innovation REBOOT:Music Exhibit in San Jose". Modulate this!. Retrieved 2 April 2014. 
  13. ^ "The Tech Challenge - About Us". The Tech Museum of Innovation. Retrieved 2013-03-14. 
  14. ^ "Cupertino Students Blow Out the Tech Challenge". Cupertino Patch. Retrieved 2014-02-06. 
  15. ^ Kaplan, Tracey (2012-04-25). "Michael L. Hackworth - Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist - dies at 71". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved 5 March 2014. 
  16. ^ . IMAX Retrieved 5 March 2014. 

External links

  • Museum website
  • The Tech's About Us web page
  • The Tech Virtual
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