The gift from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be applied toward the Mountain View, Calif., museum's $125 million fund-raising effort, which aims to expand educational programs and exhibits, and create a long-term endowment. The donation also will help create an interactive exhibit chronicling the history of computing.
"The impact on our society of the computing revolution is simply breathtaking--it has changed the way we work, play, learn and communicate," Gates said in a statement. "It's our responsibility to collect the artifacts and stories today that will explain this incredible change to future generations."
The Computer History Museum campaign has raised $73 million to date.
In addition to donating to the computer museum, the Gates Foundation, with its endowment of $28.8 billion, has funded scholarships to universities and colleges. The foundation also focuses on global health, public libraries and families at risk in the Northwest.