IT began with ADA

Women in IT history


The special exhibition about women in IT for the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum

In celebration of Ada Lovelace’s 200th birthday, today considered the world’s first software engineer, Archimedes Exhibitions staged a special exhibition for the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum in Paderborn about the female pioneers of computer engineering. The scenography offered the visitors a journey through the past 170 years of computer history.

This exhibition posed the special challenge that there were hardly any original objects and artifacts. Thus, the focus lied on multimedia and interactive exhibits. As a result, historic objects found themselves alongside modern media stations, making the topics tangible in the truest sense of the word. In reconstructed salons from the specific eras, the visitors were able to operate recreated machines like the Analytical Engine. This way, the modes of operation of modern computers were conveyed in a playful way. In addition to the technical aspects, the exhibition also addressed the prejudices of society which constrained the women’s work – and showed how they, despite these obstacles, managed to accomplish their significant achievements anyway.

After the major exhibitions “Computer.Medicine” and “Computer.Sport”, “IT began with Ada. Women in computer history” was the third exhibition that Archimedes Exhibitions has realised for the Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum.

Client: Heinz Nixdorf MuseumsForum Exhibition Space: 700 m² Opening: September 2015 Duration: 2. September 2015 – 10. July 2016 Languages: German | English

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