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“Worth the time and entry fee” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The National Museum of Computing

The National Museum of Computing
Block H, Bletchley Park | Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes MK3 6EB, England
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Type: Museums
Attraction Details
cheltenham
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
3 attraction reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
“Worth the time and entry fee”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 15, 2013

We were visiting Bletchley Park and stumbled across the museum. We had to pay £5 for entry but it was so worth it. A step back in time. The staff were welcoming and so enthusiastic about the displays. It is obviously still a work in progress but so good and will no doubt get better.
Highly recommend it if you have worked with computers at all over the last 20 years. You don't have to be knowledgeable about how they work to enjoy the displays.

Visited March 2013
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61 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
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English first
NorthWest UK
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
5 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 6, 2013

What treasure we nearly missed - due to (total) lack of public funding this place is only open at certain times of the week, so on our first trip to Bletchley Park (the two institutions share the same grounds) it was closed. We decided to book the tour and return, and were so glad we did. Anyone interested in Computing, Maths or Science can not fail to be impressed by this place, containing the oldest surviving working computer in the world, the Decatron known as WITCH, and Colossus, plus an enormous collection of proto type and early computers, up to the modern era. Ok so it is not a huge gleaming purpose built building with masses of signage and gizmos, but for anyone interested in looking back over the past 60yrs of this new science, then you really MUST visit the National Musuem of Computing, and support the work of the dedicated volunteers here.

Visited March 2013
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Powys
Top Contributor
85 reviews 85 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
52 helpful votes 52 helpful votes
“Shame about the rift and double charging for entry”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed February 20, 2013

A real treat – visited on three days and managed to find lots of interesting information and exhibits. Take a guided tour (free) as the volunteers supporting this pace are very knowledgeable. Shame there has been some rift with the national computing centre as this is also worth a visit but to pay twice for admission is not appropriate. On site dining is very expensive so I suggest you take your own food and drink and make use of the picnic tables and grassland.

Visited February 2013
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Ottawa, Canada
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
14 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“One great attraction, the rest is a work in progress”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Given that the world's first digital computer was created to help crack the German's Enigma ciphers during World War II, it seems only natural that Bletchley Park would be the site for the display of a reproduction of the Colossus digital computer, and around that the National Museum of Computing could be built.

Bear in mind that this is a separate organization from Bletchley Park proper, and so a separate admission charge is required.

The Colossus reproduction itself is massive. A guided tour is available that shows of some of the electronic predecessors to Colossus, and it's extremely informative.

The rest of the displays in the Museum do a fairly good job of presenting information. Quite a bit is done, for example, on the history of calculating devices from the abacus to slide rules. People who do steampunk will get a kick out of the brass devices of the nineteenth century used for calculation.

It's when you hit the history of computing after the 1950s that things start to go a bit downhill. Although the mainframes on the ground floor can be interesting, the stuff on analog computing tends to look like it was set up as a display inside a school classroom, and the items on personal computing during the 1980s and 1990s has the distinctive whiff of the used office surplus warehouse. Please don't misunderstand, the displays and artifacts themselves will hold interest; it's just that, compared with other museums, the display layout for the modern-day computer exhibits will strike some visitors as a bit old-fashioned and dull. (Mind you, there is one thing nice about the 1980s stuff, in that there's interactivity; children will have a good time working with the videogames that the PCs of the era are loaded with.)

Visited January 2013
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Bethany Beach, DE
Top Contributor
90 reviews 90 reviews
66 attraction reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
64 helpful votes 64 helpful votes
“A World-class display of computing Technology”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2013

Imagine my surprise when I encountered a Craig Supercomputer mixed in with IBM PC's and everything in between, including a room full of vintage analogue computers. This place simply has covered the waterfront in regard to the history of computing technology. Amazingly, many of the items actually work - including their amazing restoration of the early WWII code breaking digital machines. There are rooms dedicated to every sub-topic you can think of, including impecible examples, and guided by first-rate volunteer guides who seem to know everything there is to know. While all European manufacturers are represented, U.S.-sourced vintage computing products are somewhat lean. Although there are DEC and IBM (1630) machines, others are missing. Overall, a definitive collection rivalling or exceeding the finest in the world.
If computer history is your passion, you are simply incomplete until you visit this place.

Visited January 2013
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