The Tech turns 20!

Can you imagine San Jose without its big mango heart?

It’s been two decades since a block party hosted by our robot mascot Buster opened the doors to The Tech, and in that time we’ve been honored to be so welcomed by our community. Millions of students and visitors have walked through our doors, and we hope you’ve all left feeling a bit more creative and fired up to solve big problems.

We’re looking back and celebrating all the fun we’ve had together. Take a stroll down memory lane with us and some of the risk-takers and problem solvers who know that there’s only one correct response when asked, “Is that even possible?” TECH, YEAH!

Opening Day, Oct. 31, 1998

The Tech Museum of Innovation opens after operating out of a smaller space on West San Carlos Street for eight years known as “The Garage.”

Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater opens

Opening Day for The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater

2000

President Bill Clinton visits for a meeting with Silicon Valley execs about a trade agreement with China

2001

The Tech Awards program is launched

Arnold Schwarzenegger visits while supporting Greater San Jose Inner City Games

The Tech Awards 2016 Laureates.

2002

First new exhibition opens: Imagination Playground

The Science of Sport exhibition opens

“Before The Tech opened I saw the ball machine at The Garage. It’s still going on Park Avenue, and also has an offspring at the airport.”
— Gary Mason, volunteer
From field trips as a child to coming in every Saturday to share knowledge with other children and the general public, I thank The Tech for inspiring me.”
— Michelle Vo, volunteer

2004

Genetics: Technology with a Twist and NetPlanet open

Becomes one of the first places in the world with a public wet lab featuring an experiment with jellyfish DNA

Hosts the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC) international conference

2006

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates speaks at The Tech

2007

Green By Design opens

Body Worlds 2 opens and brings in record crowds

2008

Enters into a first-of-its-kind agreement in San Jose with SunPower and the City of San Jose to install solar panels from a private for-profit on a city building for the benefit of a nonprofit.

Leonardo: 500 Years into the Future includes the installation of a 24-foot sculpture of the Sforza Horse at the corner of Park and Market and two paintings on loan from the Uffizi Gallery.

Gallery Glen, The Tech’s youngest volunteer!
“One of my favorite memories is of Glenn, a member’s child, who enjoyed his experiences at The Tech so much that he told his class that he wanted to be a Tech employee when he grew up. We found a tech polo and name badge for Glenn, which he wore every weekend when he visited the museum. His enthusiasm for The Tech was inspired by the passion of the staff, and he in turn [inspired] us!”
-Alexandra Schindler, staff

2009

Al Gore receives James C. Morgan Global Humanitarian Award at The Tech Awards

Hosts Great ShakeOut earthquake preparedness event for first time

Girl Scouts @ The Tech program launches

“Star Trek” exhibition opens

“I will always remember meeting George Takei on the TOS [Star Trek: The Original Series] bridge replica when we had the exhibition.”
— Brandon Lewke, staff

2010

Genghis Khan exhibition opens

Steve Wozniak celebrates his 60th birthday at The Tech

2011

Body Worlds Vital opens

Tim Ritchie becomes President and CEO

Traveling exhibition Islamic Science Rediscovered opens

2012

Mythbusters exhibition opens

2013

Social Robots opens

The Tech Studio opens

2014

REBOOT: Music opens

Body Metrics opens

“Star Wars” exhibition opens

The Tech Academies program launches and begins building model programs for teaching STEM in Silicon Valley’s underserved communities

Students at Kennedy Elementary School celebrate the start of a program that’s helped hundreds of educators bring more STEM learning to the classroom.
“I will never forget hosting Robert F. Kennedy Elementary School at The Tech — the kids were thrilled and it was the beginning of what became our signature Tech Academies.”
— Katy Feeley, staff

2015

Launch of Bowers Institute

Cyber Detectives opens

Win the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

Tim Ritchie, The Tech’s president and CEO, and Maria Evans, Principal of Washington Elementary school, accept the IMLS National Medal for Community Service at a ceremony with Michelle Obama.

2016

BioDesign Studio opens

Innovations in Health Care opens

StoryCorps visits and records oral histories of The Tech and its community

2017

The Tech Challenge’s 30th anniversary

“Judging The Tech Challenge and seeing the creativity of the next generation of innovators (is my favorite memory at The Tech.) One team of two girls had developed an innovative solution, worked together effectively and presented well.”
— John Heinlein, Ph.D., board member

The Tech for Global Good launches

Body Worlds Decoded opens

Reboot Reality opens

Reboot Reality launched in May 2016, giving The Tech a new interactive space for immersive media experiences.

Hosts the international ASTC conference for the second time

2018

Opening of world’s first IMAX Dome Theater with a laser projection system

Animaker exhibit opens in Reboot Reality

Celebrates 20th anniversary!

“I remember coming to The Tech (then The Garage) when the VTA light rail first opened. What I love is that after all these years The Tech has grown and evolved along with the tech industry to represent San Jose’s role as a growing tech industry hub.”
— Sherry Burch, staff

Share your memories of The Tech with us on social! @TheTechMuseum #TheTech20