Tools and Toys: The Amazing Personal Computer

Over 40 interactive stations introduced visitors to diverse applications on a variety of computer systems at a time before computer access became widespread. With the Tools and Toys exhibit, computer novices experienced firsthand the power of the PC for education, productivity, and entertainment.

Examples of the applications on offer included: a multimedia composition tool to merge text, sound, graphics and moving images to create a presentation; special needs applications such as text recognition and voice activated systems; education and entertainment software ranging from simulations to games of strategy and adventure; online forums with worldwide news feeds; a CD-ROM-based encyclopedia; and word processors and spreadsheets. In one section, visitors learned about operating systems, utilities, and viruses.

Information About The Exhibit

Opening: June 11, 1992

Square Footage: 3,600 sq.ft.

Cost: $1 Million

Sponsors: William H. Gates III, Apple Computer, Kapor Family Foundation, Steve Wozniak, Digital Equipment Corporation, Raytheon Company, Cabot Corporation, Arthur Nelson, Steve Stadler

In-Kind Sponsors: Asymetrix, Autodesk, Bitstream, Borland Int'l, DEC, EarLevel Engineering, Fluent Inc., Intel, IBM, Maxis Software, Microsoft Corporation, Motion Works, ON Technology Inc., Pacer Software, Proxima Corporation, Proximity Technology, Radius Inc., Sens8 Corporation, Spaceball Technologies, SuperMac Technology, Symantec Corporation, T/Maker Company

Donors: 3Com Corporation

Contributors: Cabot Corporation Foundation, Arthur Nelson, Raytheon Company, Ingrid and Steve Stadler



Development: Greg Welch, David Greschler, Lauren O'Neal, Olivery Strimpel, Gwen Bell. Exhibit developed in conjunction with The Boston Computer Society

Design: Theodore Groves, Asa Chibas

Construction: Don Greene, Wayne Cookson

Education: Natalie Rusk, Nancy Borland, Jim Boyd, Noah Southall

Programming: Dan Griscon, Stina Cooke, Ben Tremblay, Don Abrams, Michael Allen, Marcia Cohen, Thomas Flotte, Dan Freedman, Dick Gage, Eben Gay, Gloria Jacobs, Edmund MacKenty, Michael McCormick, David Owen, Joyce Sailor, Michael Stein, David Temkin, Maria Flanagan, Notable Productions, Ruth Schmidt.

Software Evaluators: BCS User Interface Group, Sharon Fenick, Brad Larson, Kathy O'Neeill

Companies Building Interactives: Airtight Garage, American Management Systems, CAST, Fluent Inc., Graphic Simulations Corporation, Kurzweil AI, LCSI, MathSoft, Maxis Software, Pacer Software, Scholastic Software, Wolfram Research

Exhibit Advisors: Gwen Bell, Richard P. Case, Gardner Henrie, Tracy Licklider, Ike Nassi, Ed Belove, Steve Stadler, James Starkey, Oliver Strimpel

The Computer Museum News Autumn 1991

The Computer Museum News Spring 1992

Boston Computer Society June 1992

Eight application areas using 40 computer stations included: Desktop Publishing - Design Your Own Newsletter, Computer Drawing - DinoDraw!, Chemistry/Earth Science - Explosive Experiments, Flight Simulation - Fly a DC-10, Computer Assisted Animation - Make Your Own Cartoon, World Puzzle - Alphabet Noodle Soup, Image Processing - Special Effects, Computer Spreadsheets - Spend a Million Dollars, Publishing Tools - What's Your Type?, Multimedia - Hear It See It, Making Sound - Be Your Own Band, 3D - Entering the Third Dimension, Draw on the Wall

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Updated: February 2015