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Nighttime view of The Tech Museum
The Tech Museum of Innovation, or simply The Tech, is a museum located in the heart of Silicon Valleymarker, in downtownmarker San Josemarker, Californiamarker USAmarker.

Planning began in 1978 by members of the Junior league of Palo Alto and later assistance by the San Jose Junior league. The first 20,000 square foot (2,000 m²) temporary exhibit finally opened in 1990 “The Garage” as it was named, opened in San Jose’s former convention center. On October 31st of 1998, it opened a brand new 132,000 square feet (12,000 m²) facility, and has had 4,000,000 visitors.

The museum is composed of three floors, each with its own significance. The ground floor has the main entrance, a gift shop and cafe, the Imax theater, and a recreational area that is reserved for special events. The Tech Store contains various gifts, shirts and souvenirs. Café Primavera offers a varied menu of pasta dishes, sandwiches, pizzas, soups and salads for both adults and children. The ground level is a location where Segway and other robotic demos are displayed and given. The Tech Museum's architecture is the work of Mexican architect Ricardo Legorreta.

Themed galleries focused on innovation, the internet, the human body, and exploration fill the upper and lower level of the museum. These galleries are constantly being revamped and changed to fit the themed movies and exhibits. On the lower level there is also a public piece of artwork titled “Origin” which is inside a 45-foot tall cylinder.

The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater (named after Mike and Joan Hackworth) shows educational films. It is Northern California’s only domed IMAX Theater and can seat up to 295 persons. IMAX stands for maximum image, the film is 4 times larger than normal movie film and the projector is as large as a Volkswagen beetle, which allows for larger projection.

Exhibits

The Tech has many exhibits dealing with energy efficiency, customization, exploration, and the force of gravity such as the G-Force. Students and guest can make their own contraptions using the popular board game: Mouse Trap.Image:CohanThermal.jpg|Thermal picture taken at the tech museum in San JoseImage:F11494485.jpg|Earthquake Simulator

The Tech Awards Gallery Technology benefiting humanity

Every day there are stories of grinding poverty, virulent disease and famine. But each year through The Tech Awards program, we hear stories that radiate powerful streams of hope. These are the stories of The Tech Awards Laureates. These immensely talented people, who use innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues in education, equality, health, economic development and the environment, will be showcased in this groundbreaking, 3,000-square-foot interactive exhibition.

The Tech Awards Gallery, Technology benefiting humanity is the only permanent museum exhibition on the West Coast that links social responsibility with technology in the areas of health, education, equality, economic development and the environment. Be inspired by these incredible people who are committed to using their science and technology work to benefit humanity all over the globe. Hear their compelling stories and learn how you, too can take action in your community to make a difference.

STAR TREK: THE EXHIBITION

The newest exhibit coming to The Tech Museum on October 23, 2009 is Star Trek: The Exhibition. You'll be able to see the world's most comprehensive collection of authentic Star Trek objects. This will be a limited time engagement. . Star Trek: The IMAX Experience, the 2009 blockbuster from J.J. Abrams plays nightly in the Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater.

Special Exhibits

On special occasions The Tech will rent out Parkside Hall from the city of San Jose to host special larger Exhibits. In 2007, this hall was the home to the exhibit Body Worlds 2, which brought in over 280,000 guests. In winter of 2008, there was a special Leonardo Da Vinci Exhibit (called Leonardo: 500 Years into the Future) that displayed some of his inventions, findings, and pictures. It was so successful that it was extended three weeks.

The Tech Museum of Innovation offers a new approach to viewing galleries from a wide variety of different media. The majority of these exhibits are interactive and allow the viewer to engage in the learning experience. The Tech also has joint partnerships with local attractions, ranging form the Jazz festival to the Global festival of Art.

Signature Programs

The Tech is more than just a museum. Here are it's signature programs.

The Tech Challenge

The Tech Challenge is an annual team design challenge for youth in grades 5 through 12. A signature program of The Tech Museum, the challenge introduces and reinforces the scientific process with a hands-on project geared to solve a real-world problem. All this, and it's FUN!!!

The project-based nature of this program makes it unique from any other science-based program or competition for youth. Open and accessible to anyone in the 5th to 12th grade age range; The Tech Challenge inspires the innovator in EVERYONE.

The Tech Awards

The Tech Awards is an international awards program that honors innovators from around the world who are applying technology to benefit humanity.

The Tech Awards program inspires global engagement in applying technology to humanity's most pressing problems by recognizing the best of those who are utilizing innovative technology solutions to address the most urgent critical issues facing our planet. People all over the world are profoundly improving the human condition in the areas of education, equality, environment, health, and economic development through the use of technology. It is the goal of The Tech Awards to showcase their compelling stories and reward their brilliant accomplishments.

Each year, candidates are nominated and then invited to submit applications. Individuals, for-profit companies, and not-for-profit organizations are eligible. International panels of judges review the applications and annually select 15 Laureates. Awards are presented in five categories: Health, Education, Environment, Economic Development, and Equality. Three Laureates in each category are honored and one Laureate per category receives $50,000. Laureates are honored at an annual Gala event and inducted into The Tech Awards Network (TAN). The TAN extends the award program from an annual event to a year round program. The goal of the TAN is to create opportunities for learning, networking, and exposure to assist the Laureates in furthering their work.

The Tech Awards program was launched in November 2000, and the first Tech Awards Gala was held in 2001. The concept for the awards and the five universal categories were inspired in part by the State of the Future report, published by the Millennium Project of the American Council of the United Nations University. The report recommends that award recognition is an effective way to accelerate scientific breakthrough and technological applications to improve the human condition. The Awards categories were inspired by the 15 Global Challenges identified in the report.

Membership and Benefits

The museum offers a variety of exclusive memberships that help fund the museum and allow for free visits. Guests can purchase memberships to obtain free admission as well as other benefits. School groups can obtain free field trips and free lab classes to help better education for students of all ages and financial background. Families can walk in and take advantage of the open access policy, which allows free visit for all guests who cant afford the museum and its experiences. As well as memberships the museum is also sponsored by various grants from leaders in technology. The money from the memberships and from grants help fund different problems that allow these free visits.

The Tech Virtual

The Tech Virtual launched in December 2007. On June 4, 2008 the world's first museum exhibits developed using this open source method opened in the museum's own Virtual Test Zone gallery.The seven exhibits, all contributed under a Creative Commons license and prototyped in the virtual world of Second Life, became part of the museum's Art, Film, Music and Games exhibition. The Virtual Test Zone gallery itself is a prototype exhibit area that will consistently feature virtual-to-real-world exhibits on specific themes resulting from The Tech Virtual programs.

References

  1. http://www.thetech.org/StarTrek/
  2. http://www.thetech.org/imax/


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