Research & Community

Researching our Collections
We welcome researchers and others who wish to use objects in our collection for their studies. If you have a research query, contact us on 

If there are specific items in the collection that you would like access to, please quote the object ID (listed at the bottom of each object's web page) in your query.

Research & Community Projects
Research is an integral part of our culture as a museum, as we strive to promote understanding of the history of computing. As such our staff are involved in a wide range of research activities across the fields of computing; computing history; conservation and management of collections involving modern materials; and video game preservation.

We also get involved with local community projects where we can and these vary hugely in focus and in scope. Sometimes this just means we'll take part in community events like the Cambridge Big Weekend. Other community projects are wider in scope and they often involve our staff in activities that help promote social inclusion or address inequalities.

Current Projects

Swiss Rolls, Tea & the Electronic Office: A History of LEO, the World's First Business Computer - completed June 2023, but final tidying of loose ends ongoing

Having developed the world's first business computer, LEO Computers played a key role in the early development of computing, and its subsequent social impact, but the LEO story is not well known. So, in partnership with the LEO Computers Society, and with grateful thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, we are preserving, archiving and digitising LEO artefacts, documents and personal memories before they are lost forever. Further details can be found on our project webpage.


Videogame Preservation - ongoing

The preservation of videogames has been an important part of everything the Centre for Computing History has been doing since we began. Games tend to reflect what is happening culturally and they are often designed to take their hardware platform to the limits - so they facilitate an excellent demonstration of computers or consoles and their period of history. We believe that gaming must be documented from a heritage perspective and supported by properly preserved examples. To read more about what we're doing and why, read an article on Videogame Heritage and Preservation by our curator Jason Fitzpatrick. For an example of our work, explore our David Jones case study.


Computing Herstory - ongoing

Does the lack of a clear history recording the contributions made by women to the development of the technologies that surround us contribute to a perception that computing, and tech more generally, are the preserve of men and boys? Where did all the women go? Women’s contributions have been huge yet many of their stories remain untold. We are well placed to put these contributions back at the centre of our shared history and we call this computing herstory. To read more about the women we've profiled to date, read an article on Computing Herstory by our gender and technology lead Lisa McGerty. 



Circuits of Practice - completed

Circuits of Practice was an AHRC-funded project that explores the role of museums in constructing a historical heritage centred around the emergence and development of computing and digital media. It interrogates how leading museums in the UK are helping to construct and disseminate historical narratives about computing through which the past, the present and the future of our societies are imagined and culturally constructed. Find out more about the project on the Circuits of Practice website.








Past Projects

Viva Computer! A People's History of Computing - completed 2016

Viva Computer was an audio-visual project that we formally completed in 2016, though we continue to add to the video archive today. The project told the story of the computing industry’s history of innovation, with a focus on Cambridge’s unique role. It captured the stories of those inventors, software and hardware engineers, gaming visionaries and microprocessor developers who sparked a revolution, as well as the stories of those affected and inspired by it. The videos created as part of the project, thanks to support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund - and new ones that we have added since - can be found on our YouTube channel.


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