The Museum of Computing Machinery of the University of Pisa was founded in 1993, with the establishment of a ministerial commission and an initial funding. The proposal wanted to continue the experience of the Center for the Conservation and Study of Scientific Instruments (CCSSS) established by the Department of Physics in 1989, taking advantage of the availability of exhibition space offered by the City of Pisa. The declared objective was to “set up a modern museum of national importance to conserve and study computer specimens and, more generally, of everything that has been realised and written in the computer area”.
The details of the subsequent story are complex. In short, the Museum was established, and its management was entrusted to the Galileo Galilei Foundation, reactivated for the purpose in 1998. The Museum was inaugurated in September 2000 (in 1995 restoration work had started in the area of the Old Slaughterhouses). Unfortunately, funding from the Ministry gradually decreased, as did the spaces given by the Municipality.
For many years the Museum was opened only on request or on rare occasions. Despite the difficulties, during the first years many donations and acquisitions allowed the Museum to gather a collection of great importance at an international level. Under this regard, the contribution and the commitment of Professor Roberto Vergara Caffarelli was precious.
Since 2011, with funding obtained from the Department of Computer Science, the Museum has been open regularly and offers a wide range of educational activities and workshops. The position has been further consolidated with the establishment of the University Museum Network, thanks to which the Museum finds a prominent position within the organization of the University of Pisa.
At the end of 2017 the part of the collections relating to the scientific instruments of physics and astronomy of the 18th, 19th and first half of the 20th century was separated from the Museum of Computing Machinery Instruments and merged into the new Physics Instruments Museum.
The enhancement and increase of the patrimony of the Museum of Computing Machinery and of the Physics Instruments Museum is also due to the Galileo Galilei Foundation through its mission of spreading scientific culture.