Exhibiting the Online World: A Case Study
The online world and its origins is one of the most obviously relevant areas of computing history to the general public. It is also one of the hardest to effectively interpret and display. This paper discusses the challenges of exhibiting the complex and mostly intangible online world – sometimes called “cyberspace” – in a museum context. These include not just display challenges, but also the difficulties of framing this complex, wide ranging, and largely unknown history in an accessible way. It presents some of the techniques we’ve developed as solutions at the Computer History Museum, with the hope they may contribute to an exchange of ideas. These techniques are still evolving. The three relevant galleries in our permanent exhibition form the first comprehensive exhibit on the history of the online world. A current temporary exhibit and five small permanent ones in development focus on specific areas of cyberspace.
KeywordsOnline Web history Internet history networking history cyberspace computer history exhibit museum social media Computer History Museum computer telecommunications
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