Wish you were here

Technology doesn’t just sizzle in Silicon Valley.

It’s The Summer of Computer Love here in Cambridge – a city that sparked many of the last 60 years’ revolutionary developments in computing.

The Centre for Computing History’s exciting, new summer festival celebrates the computers, people and stories that laid the foundation for our digital age. It’s your chance to discover the many ways in which computers have developed and touched our lives.

Discover the history of computers. Explore electronics, code, control systems, retro gaming, digital music, cyber security and more.

Summer Holidays 2017

Running NOW until
Sunday 17th September, 2017

Planning to visit?

We can’t wait to share our summer festival with you, so come on down – we’re open 7 days a week until the end of the summer holiday.

See all visitor information

A world class collection

Get your sunglasses on for a wide view of tech from a past that transformed our lives in such profound ways. Explore hardware big and small; apps old and new; and get practical with many working machines. It’s all part of the Centre’s interactive collection; curated with a bright, fun and friendly tone.

A visit to the Centre during the 2017 Summer Holiday for our SUMR festival is the perfect day out for you and your family.

It’s a digital playground for all ages – for the serious geeks and curious kids alike. Mums, dads, families, couples – everyone’s welcome, and you don’t need to be a technical whizz-kid to understand or have a great time.

Thousands will explore our collection over the summer. Why not join them by making a visit to our Centre an essential part of your summer schedule?

Here are just a few of our collection highlights:

Megaprocessor

Ever wondered what’s inside a Microprocessor – that tiny, flat, black box that acts as your computer’s “brain”? We can show you – using our “Megaprocessor”, the world’s largest processor – as certified by The Guinness Book of Records (current world record holder)!

It’s over 10 meters long, contains over 12,000 LEDs and 40,000 transistors, but you’ll have to see it to believe it.

The Dawn of Computing

We celebrate the early steps into computing by restoring and maintaining a collection of machines that are of significant historical significance. They’re large, noisy, and offer less processing power than an average smartphone of today – but they’re important milestones of innovation for their time.

Including an Elliot 903, PDP8 and PDP11e, punch card and punch tape systems, reels of magnetic storage tape, and much more.

A Maker's Paradise

Everything a tinkerer, dreamer or maker might need – 3D Printing, Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Micro:bit, Makey Makey and stacks more.

The Arena of Retro Gaming

A retro-gamer’s dream, with every console you can imagine. We’ve got early games for personal computers and a huge array of arcade classics including Pacman, Space Invaders, Mario, Sonic… far too many to mention here. Are you feeling brave enough to challenge them?

Who Controls the Controllers?

Plot a course and away you go. We’ve control systems of every shape and size, including old favourites like Sony Aibo and Big Trak.

Computers Get Personal

We have literally hundreds of personal computers from brands you’ll recognise from home and work in times gone by – such as the BBC Micro, Acorn Archimedes, Apple II, IBM, Sinclair ZX80 and the Commodore 64, right up to their modern-day equivalents.

Magnifying Mini-Computers

Computers had their smaller, portable equivalents a long time before the iPhone came along. Discover many classic systems like the ZX Spectrum and the Alice 90 that made their way into our pockets or briefcases (and definitely our hearts) over the last 60 years.

Future Gazing

At The Centre for Computing History, it’s not just about times gone by. We balance the old with the new, including the latest innovations in human interface like Virtual Reality headsets, touch-screens and intelligent personal assistants.

Want to delve deeper into our collection?

Every item in our collection is catalogued on our full site, so if you’d like to see more or check if we have something specific, then head over to The Centre for Computing History.

Very special events

You can visit the Centre and explore our exhibited collection on any day of the week, but we’re running some really special events over SUMR that we know you’ll love.

We’re hosting over 30 interactive exhibits, talks and hands-on experiences that your whole family can share. Whatever your age or ability, you’ll leave feeling inspired and enlightened.

We cover a whole host of subjects, so if you crave an opportunity to code, build, solder, try things out for yourself, or just a take a more in-depth look at the history of computing, then you’re certain to find an event that’s right for you.

One-off events hosted by our team of experienced curators and incredible outside sources, willing to share their story and insider knowledge of the tech industry as it once was. Plus, once-in-a-lifetime chances to see, touch and use rare artefacts that most museums keep sealed beneath glass.

Perfect for individuals, families, or small groups.

But you’ll need to act fast – our special events have strict size limits and sell out fast, so you’ll need to book early to guarantee a place.

Browse the SUMR event schedule

If you’re thinking of joining us for a one-off unforgettable experience, or a workshop with wow-factor, then take a look at our full event schedule to find something that’s perfect for you:

Check out some of our favourite upcoming events…

Game On!

Guided tour

Sat 5th August, 2017

Video games have progressed from simple black and white pixelated play to immersive, filmic epics that rival any blockbuster movie. But how did this happen?

During this special museum tour our in-house gaming experts will guide you through the history of video games from the seventies to modern day.

Do you know Arduino?

Workshop

Thurs 10th August, 2017

Come and learn the simple algorithms and programming commands needed to control our Big Trak robotic vehicles from 1979 which look like futuristic, science-fiction inspired tanks and will move in response to your instructions.

Dots and Dashes

Workshop

Fri 11th August, 2017

Thought that coding began with computers? Think again.

This workshop will transport you back to the 1850s, when the first transatlantic telegraph cable was laid. Discover how electricity was used in the form of Morse Code to send messages across the Atlantic.

SEGA Family Gaming Night

Gaming Night

Fri 11th August, 2017

For SUMR our famous Family Gaming Night fundraiser returns, and SEGA are taking over!

Sonic, Tails and Dr Robotnik are bringing their Master Systems, Mega Drives, Saturns,Dreamcasts and more, for the battle of your lifetime. Play and reminisce with retro rarities to classic games. Expect raffles, competitions, and a whole lot of fun.

James and the Giant Processor

Live Demonstration

Mon 14th August, 2017

Meet the mind behind the Megaprocessor – the world’s largest processor (as certified by the Guinness Book of Records).

James Newman provides expert demonstration as well as answering all your questions about his remarkable creation. A great opportunity to discover what’s inside those tiny black squares that act as your computer’s “brain” and see how a major electronic project is undertaken.

Enigma

FREE talk & tour

Sun 20th August, 2017

Witness a practical demonstration of one of the few surviving WW2 Enigma machines, the encryption device that created an “unbreakable” code – or so they thought.

There’s only so many times in life that you get an opportunity to get within inches of a machine actively used by a member of the Luftwaffe in 1945. This is one of them. Free, and not to be missed.

Pi Power!

Workshop

Fri 25th August, 2017

Want to create your own moving robot? This workshop is a great place to start! We’ll be showing you how to connect motors to your Raspberry Pi and create the very basics of a moving robot. Using Python we’ll teach you the code needed to operate the motors.

Great for kids and families. Discover some coding basics and take a glimpse into the “makers” culture of DIY control systems.

Retro Computer Festival

Weekend Festival

Sat 16th September – Sun 17th September, 2017

An entire weekend dedicated to the Retro Computing Community. Exhibitors welcome!

Meet a wide range of enthusiasts and explore their exhibited personal collections, retro computing mods and hacks. Plus, we’ll be delving into plenty of our own artefacts including the world’s largest processor – the MegaProcessor, and selected rare machines provided by the Retro Computer Museum.

Over 30 special events, booking now

There’s so much to do and see at our special events, and during SUMR there’s over 30 of them. So check out our full event schedule now to find something that’s just right for you.

The Centre for Computing History

The Centre for Computing History is one of the most imaginative and ambitious educational museum projects dedicated to the subject of technology in Britain today.

Our mission is to tell the story of one of the world’s most important inventions – the computer.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 on Trip Advisor

Out of 380 reviews, 94% of people rate their visit as either “Excellent” or “Very Good”

We work at the intersection of tech innovation and social history.

We help people understand how tech has shaped the modern world and revolutionised the way we live, work and play, through:

  • Interactive displays and exhibitions
  • An extensive educational programme for schools
  • Learning events and workshops
  • An astonishing collection of computers old and new

As the nation’s guardian of computing history, we look after the country’s largest collection of personal computing artefacts including over 1200 artefacts and 800 historic computers.

Our experienced team have a deep love for the history of computing. Many of us worked in the technology sector during much of our careers, before choosing the share our experiences with the wider community.

Find out more about the Centre

Right now, we’re in the midst of our SUMR festival, running until September 17th, but you can visit any time. We always have a great selection from our extensive collection on display, and there are more incredible events scheduled for later in the year.

You can find out more about us by visiting our full site:

Discover the history of computers. Explore electronics, code, control systems, retro gaming, digital music, cyber security and more.

Summer Holidays 2017

Running NOW until
Sunday 17th September, 2017

Planning to visit?

We can’t wait to share our summer festival with you, so come on down – we’re open 7 days a week until the end of the summer holiday.

See all visitor information