Arts, Culture, and Humanities

The Tech Museum of Innovation

  • San Jose, CA

Mission Statement

Our mission is to inspire the innovator in everyone.

Our vision is to become a resource for innovation.

Core Values
The Staff and Volunteers of The Tech, in an effort to make a positive difference in the world, are committed to:

Creating playful and profound experiences
We commit to creating experiences that invite people to learn through play, evoke emotions of wonder and joy, contain solid and accessible science, show how technology can improve lives, provoke thought and inspire action, and represent our local Silicon Valley community.

Continually learning
We commit to acting on the belief that all people have the capacity to learn and grow through the awakening of their curiosity in an environment that rewards that curiosity. This ideal environment promotes learning from failures and others’ experience, creating a culture of feedback and the opportunity for learning from every experience. This commitment is supported with the time and resources to provide the reflection and mindfulness necessary for growth and development.

Acting with integrity
We commit to keeping our word. To do this, we will make promises based on well-informed and mindful decisions, honoring those promises and offering transparency in all that we do. We hold ourselves to high ethical standards to always do the right thing.

Being team players
We commit to collaborating with others, coming from a place of respect and generosity of spirit, honoring different opinions and perspectives, trusting that others will do the same. This culture of teamwork empowers all to speak the truth, stay in the conversation, and when necessary, question the status quo. This level of collaboration requires support for one another, a willingness to do whatever it takes, and hearty celebration of successes.

Embracing diversity
We commit to actively cultivating a welcoming and inclusive environment that reflects the diverse community that is Silicon Valley. This drives the scope of our outreach, and the tone and content of our communication to all constituents, including board, staff, volunteers, visitors, and vendors. It feeds the process of creating, marketing and delivering our programs. Valuing and encouraging diverse ideas from many sources results not only in a more well-rounded product, but more importantly, in a shared experience by all constituents of feeling valued and respected.

Being innovative
We commit to being innovative. Innovation is the practical expression of imagination. It turns ideas into reality. The Tech Museum provides the environment that supports this expression, seeing opportunities for innovation in our daily lives as well as around the world. When opportunities or challenges arise, we believe solutions exist, take risks to find answers, think “outside the box,” are willing to fail, persevere to the end, remain optimistic, and maintain our sense of wonder.

Valuing the local community
We commit to being involved with what’s going on outside our own front door – giving back to our community as well as inviting them into our home. We welcome by reaching out to collaborate with other Bay Area institutions, we stay involved by being aware of what’s happening around us, and by engaging in dialogue with others. This community is our home which we treat with integrity and respect.

Achieving excellence
We commit to creating and adhering to high standards of excellence, and we welcome being held accountable for the outcome and quality of our work. To ensure we consistently meet these standards, we support systems of feedback and response from our visitors, staff and volunteers. The outcome of this commitment will endear us to our visitors, embolden our staff to reach higher, and help us fulfill our mission in ways that exceed expectations.

Main Programs

  1. The Tech

service areas


Self-reported by organization

ruling year


chief executive

Mr. Tim Ritchie

Self-reported by organization


science, technology, museum, youth development, after-school programs, informal science education

Self-reported by organization

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Also Known As

The Tech


Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Science & Technology Museum (A57)

Educational Services and Schools - Other (B90)

County / Street / Civic / Multi-Arts Fairs and Festivals (N52)

IRS Filing Requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Programs + Results

How does this organization make a difference?

Impact statement

The Tech Museum is a dynamic learning resource in Silicon Valley designed to bring science and technology to life. Hundreds of educational, hands-on exhibits and one-of-a-kind floor programs await the visitor.Experience the Bay Area’s only IMAX dome theater and digital surround-sound system.


What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Self-reported by organization

Program 1

The Tech

The frontiers of human imagination and knowledge converge at The Tech Museum of Innovation, where visitors explore modern technology through interactive exhibits that captivate while they inform. With the mission of inspiring the innovator in everyone, this hands-on science center engages visitors to learn about the technologies affecting their lives. More than 400,000 guests visit each year—140,000 as part of a school field trip. An expansive variety of exhibitions covering 132,000 square feet showcase not just how technology works, but how it influences our identities and how we live, work, play, and learn. The Tech also features the Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater, Northern California's only domed IMAX screen. Signature programs include The Tech Challenge, an annual student engineering design competition founded in 1988, and The Tech Awards, honoring people around the world who use technology to benefit humanity.


Science & Technology, General/Other



Population Served

General Public/Unspecified



Charting Impact

Five powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Self-reported by organization

  1. What is the organization aiming to accomplish?
    The Tech’s mission is to inspire the innovator in everyone. Therefore, the museum’s target groups are diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, and socio-economic status. Welcoming more than 400,000 visitors every year, The Tech embraces the idea that all people are born with the ability to solve problems. The Tech inspires visitors to think creatively using technology to solve problems on a personal, local, and global scale.

    School groups visit on a daily basis to tour the museum and participate in The Tech’s 90-minute hands-on science labs, offered in eight specific topic areas that meet California Science Content Standards. These labs reinforce the students’ exhibit experiences, with lessons further supported by pre- and post-visit classroom activities. More than half of school visitors come from Title 1 schools, with less access to science, math, and engineering lessons during the school day.

    It is critical to expose as many young people as possible to STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) concepts and career fields that fuel not only Silicon Valley but are making a difference around the world. That is why reaching out to the most underserved students is a vital component of The Tech’s mission. Exposure to these concepts will help them keep up with their peers and be prepared for the 21st century workplace.

    Adult visitors are equally as inspired by The Tech’s hands-on exhibits and love realizing that they have “figured something out.” In addition to daytime floor programs, The Tech offers evening workshops, hacker space, and discussions—the museum is truly community gathering space for sharing ideas and sparking creativity.

    Over the next several years, The Tech will be upgrading current exhibitions and designing unique new interactive ones. Success will be measured by the volume of visitors in addition to regular visitor surveys that will measure both the appeal of and the lasting knowledge that visitors take away from The Tech’s exhibitions, labs, and programs.
  2. What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?
    The Tech’s primary strategy for achieving its short- and long-terms goals is its Tech 3.0 capital campaign, a $50-million endeavor that will fund museum exhibitions, staffing, and programs for the next decade. Tech 3.0 will allow the museum to achieve its ultimate goal of becoming an even more relevant resource in Silicon Valley. Specifically, this campaign will support the following activities:

    Updating current exhibitions. Many of The Tech’s hundreds of exhibitions have been “well-loved” for years. The lessons they impart have maintained their relevance, but some of the exhibitions themselves need repairs or upgrades. This is a continual process, one that is becoming easier to achieve with the support of Tech 3.0 donors.

    Designing new interactive exhibitions. The first exhibition funded Tech 3.0, Social Robots, has been fully designed in-house and is now being enjoyed daily by hundreds of visitors. Social Robots is a hands-on design challenge in which visitors take a robot base and add components using inputs and outputs to make the robot perform various functions. It is a hands-on design challenge in which visitors take a robot base and add components to make the robot perform various functions. Debuting in fall 2014 is Body Metrics, which will use technology to create a “digital reflection” of visitors to enable them to assess their lifestyles’ influence on health in new ways. Body Metrics will educate guests about the vast data available for interpretation, specifically related to the human body. Other upcoming design challenge exhibitions include one dedicated to cyber security that will open in early 2015, followed by one about living sustainably on Earth and in space.

    Opening the Center for Learning with Technology. This onsite center will be a true resource for local educators. It is intended to be a gathering space for professional development among teachers and school administrators. The Center will use the latest tools and resources to provide information to help educators develop young innovators in their classrooms. It will also serve as a demonstration and vetting spot for ed-tech products that these busy educators do not usually have the luxury of investigating on their own.
  3. What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?
    The Tech’s staff has undergone some major transformations recently and will continue to do so as a result of the Tech 3.0 campaign. The campaign is designed to fund physical improvements at the museum as well as pay for additional and highly qualified staff over the next decade.

    The Tech has restructured its Education Team to enhance impacts at the museum with innovative floor programming for guests as well as in the community, conducting additional out-of-school-time outreach. The Tech Challenge program, a months-long team design challenge program, has seen an increase in participation every year since it began in the 1980s. The challenge has also grown in depth, with in-house trainings for team participants and advisors, test trials, and online assistance. The Tech Challenge provides extensive scientific training to participants.

    The Exhibits Team has also grown. This team is responsible for the in-house design of new exhibits like those described above. The team works through the design process in collaboration with members of the Education Team.

    Partnerships have always been and will always be a key component to The Tech’s ability to work efficiently and effectively. A key message the staff has adopted is “do less, partner more”: We partner effectively with schools; educational nonprofit organizations; for-profit ed-tech and robotics companies; and organizations such as Maker Corps, which hosts ongoing programs on the museum floor. The Center for Learning with Technology, in particular, will continue this partnership trend as it becomes a true space for idea exchange among educators.
  4. How will they know if they are making progress?
    The Tech uses a master timeline that details the opening of each new or refurbished exhibition. It is aggressive but doable. Specific milestones along this master timeline include work on the following exhibitions: Social Robots, Body Metrics, and Cyber Security. The opening of the Center for Learning With Technology falls under this master timeline as well.

    The staff is held accountable in terms of both scheduling and staying on budget. On-time and under-budget openings will be key indicators of reaching each target.

    In addition to these timeline-driven goals, The Tech conducts regular visitor and membership surveys to instruct staff on the effectiveness of programs and guests’ overall museum experience during their visits.
  5. What have and haven't they accomplished so far?
    The Tech’s near-term objectives revolve around successfully opening planned exhibits using a wholly in-house design process, building on what the Exhibits Team learned during its most recent opening, Social Robots. Appropriate partners were found for the manufacture of unique exhibit components; the same is being done for upcoming new exhibits while keeping the staff in full control of the design and intended lessons.

    The Tech 3.0 campaign is off to a great start, showing strong community confidence in The Tech’s plans. The pledges received to date have allowed staff to start the work on reinvigorating The Tech. Risks remain if fundraising goals are not achieved, as The Tech will need to scale back plans, but there are contingency plans in place should some areas of funding not be met. Confidence is high that, with the community’s continued support and encouragement, The Tech will indeed achieve its short- and long-term goals.

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Financial information is an important part of gauging the short- and long-term health of the organization.

Fiscal year: Jul 01-Jun 30
Yes, financials were audited by an independent accountant.


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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

The Tech Museum of Innovation



Free: Gain immediate access to the following:
  • Address, phone, website and contact information
  • Forms 990 for 2014, 2013 and 2012
  • Board Chair and Board Members
  • Access to the GuideStar Knowledge Base Search
Need the ability to download nonprofit data and more advanced search options? Consider a Premium or Pro Search subscription.


Mr. Tim Ritchie



Christopher S DiGiorgio



GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section, which enables organizations and donors to transparently share information about essential board leadership practices. Self-reported by organization



Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?