Rochester, N.Y. — Explore the history of educational software at The Oregon Trail, MECC, and the Rise of Computer Learning display opening June 17 at The Strong Museum. Learn about the pioneering Minnesota Educational Computing Corporation (MECC), which played a prominent role in helping schools to integrate computers into classroom learning, and view dozens of artifacts donated by the founders of MECC.
“MECC was a pioneering producer of educational games and published the most recognized, most influential educational game of all time, The Oregon Trail,” says Jon-Paul Dyson, director of The Strong’s International Center for the History of Electronic Games. “Because of this influence, The Oregon Trail was inducted into The Strong’s World Video Game Hall of Fame in 2016.”
Play original versions of The Oregon Trail and see artifacts chronicling the history of MECC, including examples of iconic games, such as The Oregon Trail, Storybook Weaver, and Word Muncher, and internal pictures and press clippings describing the company and its impact on games and education. Started in 1973 as a consortium of educational systems for providing computing to classrooms throughout Minnesota, MECC operated the first statewide mainframe timeshare computer for classroom use and later initiated the first wide-scale school purchase contract for personal computers.
“MECC evolved from state-education-owned to private company to a public company in its more than two decades of existence. MECC also led the way into an industry roll-up, and several generations of its talented staff members went on to found and populate other ed-tech companies. In fact, RE@L, Inc, another Minnesota company, formed and operated by former MECC staff is now a leading proponent of new ways to involve digital technology in K12 schools as they pursue the national STEM curriculum,” says MECC co-founder and RE@L Chairman Dale LaFrenz. “In its evolution, MECC influenced the education of millions of children in the United States and abroad. MECC alumni across the ed-tech world are honored to work with The Strong to share this legacy with the museum’s guests.”
The Oregon Trail, MECC, and the Rise of Computer Learning display is included with general museum admission fees.
Museum Hours: Monday–Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.
General Admission Fees (does not include admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden®): age 2 and older $14.50, under age 2 free, members free.
Admission to Dancing Wings Butterfly Garden: General Admission fee plus $4 for members, $5 for nonmembers, under age 2 free. Entry is by timed ticket only.
Parking: Free parking is available at the museum for all guests on a first-come, first-served basis during regular museum hours. Please note that, on high visitation days, the museum lot may reach capacity early in the day. If space is not available on site at the time of your visit, additional parking is available at neighboring municipal garages for a fee. The Strong is not responsible for fees incurred at off-site locations.
Shane Rhinewald, 585-410-6365, firstname.lastname@example.org