Do you know the way to the Computer History Museum?

Much as I love EContent Magazine (well, I’ve written for them since before they took that name), I have to tweak them a little for pages 12-13 of the April 2005 issue.

The “news” article’s interesting enough, about the Computer History Museum and a lecture series this newish museum is sponsoring. But if you read the article, and particularly the headline, you’ll come to a very odd conclusion about where the Computer History Museum is located.

Here’s the headline: “Computer History Living Well in San Francisco.” The article itself mentions place twice, once in the first paragraph, once in the last, both times using “San Francisco Bay Area.”

Here’s the thing: I know exactly where the Computer History Museum is, since I pass it twice a day on the drive between my home (in Mountain View, a city of 72,000 people) and work (in Mountain View, still a city of 72,000 people). The museum is about a 15 minute walk from work–I know that too, since a bunch of us took a field trip to the museum shortly after RLG moved to its new headquarters.

“Well, OK, but who’s ever heard of Mountain View?” Good point. There’s Google, to be sure (about half a mile from RLG). There’s RLG. There are lots of technology firms. It happens to be a great place to live, and managed to turn itself back into a city by revitalizing its downtown. But, sure, 72,000 isn’t Chicago.

So let’s look at distances from major cities. The Computer History Museum (1401 N. Shoreline, Mountain View) is 11.8 miles or 11 minutes away from San Jose City Hall, following MSN directions (which I’ve come to like of late). San Jose is the largest city in Northern California.

CHM is 36 miles or 33 minutes (a wildly optimistic estimate, in my opinion) from San Francisco City Hall. San Francisco is significantly smaller than San Jose.

So how exactly does CHM, primarily supported by Silicon Valley firms and individuals and located in the heart of Silicon Valley, become a San Francisco museum?

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