Mon09222014

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Next History Museum exhibition explores Silicon Valley legends


Courtesy of Los Altos History Museum
Hewlett-Packard Co. co-founder David Packard calibrates HP’s audio oscillator, designed for testing sound equipment. Packard and other Silicon Valley legends are the subject of a new fall exhibition at the Los Altos History Museum.

The Los Altos History Museum’s next exhibition, “Silicon Valley: The Lure and the Legends,” is scheduled to open Oct. 19 and run through April.

According to organizers, the exhibition will explore the transition of the Valley of Heart’s Delight from orchards to oscillators and reveal the visionaries and risk-takers behind the evolution.

Nowhere else, organizers said, was there the same combination of factors that existed in Silicon Valley: brilliant minds, cheap land, a temperate climate, a casual lifestyle and “cowboy capitalism” – the belief that there was nearly unlimited money to be made.

Exhibition panels will highlight the ingredients in the Silicon Valley recipe: Stanford University, the role of the military and federal government, corporate culture and the venture capital community.

The centerpiece, organizers noted, will be a parametric structure, shaped by Dow Jones market fluctuations during the Valley’s boom years. Visitors who enter will “meet” several dozen local legends – including Hewlett-Packard Co. co-founder David Packard – who share the triumphs and tribulations of company founders and startups via iPad stories and photos.

A reproduction of the Los Altos garage where Apple co-founders Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak created the first Apple computer will be part of the exhibition. Hands-on experiences will include a 3-D printer and an Adobe workstation.

Related programs will feature Stanford University President John Hennessy, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Bill Perry, Silicon Valley entrepreneur and academic Steve Blank, Adobe Systems Inc. co-founder Chuck Geschke, Handspring Inc. co-founder and Palm Inc. CEO Donna Dubinsky and Bespoke Innovations founder Scott Summit.

The Los Altos History Museum is located at 51 S. San Antonio Road. Hours are noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is free.

For more information, visit losaltoshistory.org.

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