Barry Eitel

You’d be hard pressed to find an invention of the last half century that is more important, influential and utilized then the Internet. The idea of connecting servers and individual computers together for communication was first put to use in 1969, although the Internet didn’t really catch on until the 1990s. It didn’t really become a living room staple until the turn of the century.

By 2012, though, the Internet is in half of all the pockets in America. It’s in laptops, tablets, automobiles, thermostats, video game consoles and televisions. The Internet changed how we write, talk, read, watch and date. Anyone can become famous in a flash (Rebecca Black, Fatso the Keyboard Cat, etc.) and there are millions out there trying (trying way too hard). Memes blow through cyberspace, some sticking around for years, others falling away in a matter of minutes.

Finally, there is a museum out there devoted to cataloging and displaying the most important historical and cultural events of the Internet’s life.

The museum opened its “doors” last month.

“The Big Internet Museum is the world’s first museum with a diverse collection completely dedicated to the Internet,” proclaimed the website.

The digital museum is online (of course). It was created by Dutch professionals Dani Polak, Joep Drummen and Joeri Bakker; all three work for TBWA\NEBOKO, “the most renowned advertising agency in The Netherlands,” according to the press release. The agency supports the museum, with technical support and design provided MediaMonks, “the biggest and most award-winning digital production agency of The Netherlands.”

The Big Internet Museum documents and displays the Web’s most interesting artifacts, for now and for future generations,” claims the post. “It houses seven specialized wings. In each wing, a different subject is categorized. For example, in the history wing visitors discover the first online attempts of ARPAnet, the precursor of today’s Internet. In the ‘Meme’ wing you’ll find more about ‘Chuck Norris’ and Nyan Cat.’”

In true Web 2.0 fashion, the museum is totally free, open and interactive. Visitors can vote on the relevance of different “pieces” and outsiders can even get full exhibits.

“Besides traditional wings, The Big Internet Museum has more parallels with a conventional museum,” says the website. “Third parties can display pieces in a specially assigned temporary exhibition wing. The coming months, digital production agency MediaMonks will fill the temporary exhibition room with an exhibit about the history of Flash.”

Soon it will also go mobile. It’s a pretty big surprise no one has thought of this before, so props to Polak, Drummen and Bakker for putting it together.