Computing education is fun - retro or otherwise! (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)

Project Odyssey is a smash for computer museum

Jason Fitzpatrick shows off rows of BBC Micros's and Raspberry Pi's at Gadget Show Live (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)
Jason Fitzpatrick shows off rows of BBC Micros’s and Raspberry Pi’s at Gadget Show Live (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)

The Centre for Computing History, the popular and fast-growing museum in Cambridge, England, is popping the corks in celebration following the massive success of their recent ‘Project Odyssey’ fundraising campaign!

The first stage of the project was launched on 10 March by museum patron Dr Hermann Hauser (of Acorn fame) and is now finished, having raised £100,000. What’s more, as this figure was reached within 30 days, it will now be matched by the generosity of Cambridge-based Redgate Software, bringing the total amount to a staggering £200,000!

The aim was to raise £110,000 to complete the refurbishment of the Centre’s main gallery and create a new core exhibition – ‘Tech Odyssey’ – which will chart the global impact of the computing revolution.

Computing education is fun - retro or otherwise! (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)
Computing education is fun – retro or otherwise! (Pic: Stuart Williams, RCN)

At the launch, Simon Galbraith, Co-Founder and CEO of Redgate, surprised everyone by pledging to match every pound donated, up to £100,000, by 11 April.

With all the monies received and counted, CCH trustees Neil Davidson and Ian Williamson, were able to announce the final figure on Friday 17 April.

Luckily there were a few bottles of babycham, left over from the retro buffet served at the fundraising reception, to toast the good news!

CCH Director, Jason Fitzpatrick said: “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity of so many Cambridge companies and individuals who have supported this appeal. We are deeply grateful to each and every one of them.

“In its present condition this building fails to do justice to the richness and variety of the collection. Although visitors can see, touch and use many of the ‘superstar’ machines of the 70s, 80s and 90s, we lacked sufficient funds to show how each of these computers represents a step towards the small, powerful, multi-purpose devices most of us use today.

“Refurbishment of the gallery and creation of Odyssey will help us tell the inspirational and epic story of the computing revolution to anyone – young and old, techie and non-geek alike.”

Dr Andy Harter, Founder and CEO of RealVNC and a major sponsor of Project Odyssey said: “The Centre for Computing History is an important initiative to preserve some of the vital history of the computer industry, which is so strongly linked with Cambridge.

“Equally important, through a diverse educational programme it is stimulating not just curiosity about the past but interest in today’s technology. This is all delivered in a fun, hands-on way that has something for everyone, and RealVNC is proud to be a founding sponsor of the Centre and to reaffirm our commitment with a further substantial donation which will enable significant development of the exhibition area.”

Jason Fitzpatrick concluded: “We know we are an unusual organisation and in many ways have chosen an unorthodox method of establishing a new museum.

“But, hey, in the words of the late, great Steve Jobs, ‘It’s better to be a pirate than to join the navy’! So on that note, I would like to thank all those wonderful people and companies who believe in our work here and what we plan to achieve in the future.”