Altair 8800 Microcomputer in the NMAH Computers and Business Machines collection
TechRepublic member GSG said, "I liked the history of computing section at the Smithsonian." You can see the Computers & Business Machines collection at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center, in Washington, DC.
This photo is of the Altair 8800 Microcomputer.
(This suggestion was originally featured in our Geeky vacation destinations gallery.)
Photo credit: NMAH
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At the Edison and Ford Estates (their vacation homes, sort of) in Ft. Myers, FL is a great geeky place where normal folks stroll by sedately while my GF and I would stand, point, discuss, and debate. The tours are pretty good to start with, but the best part is if you can bend the ear of a volunteer for a while with smart questions. Most of the volunteers there, as I understood, are retired scientists that respect the material reverently. Clearly, the Edison portion is heavier into the geeky, but Ford Estate has some interest for gearheads too.
The photo shown mentions the National Air and Space Museum located on the National Mall in downtown Washington, DC. But that gives an incomplete picture. If you are really interested in Air and Space, you'll want to add another day to go 25 miles to the West to Dulles Airport...where the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is located. This is the second part of the National Air and Space Museum. On display are more than 175 major aircraft items, 140+ space artifacts, and the new restoration center. Included in the collection are the Enola Gay B-29, an Air France Concorde, the Boeing 307 (first pressurized airliner), the Boeing 367-80 prototype for the later 707 and KC-135, lots of WW 2 aircraft, modern aviation such as F-14, and the X-35 Joint Strike Fighter, etc. Oh, don't forget we have the SR-71A Blackbird, a WW 2 Messerschmitt 163 Komet rocket plane, and a Space Shuttle. It would take a lot more time to really give you a sense of what is there. So, if you are really into aviation and space history, the UHC should definitely be on your list. Don't forget to take the free docent-led tours.
This a fabulous thing to go and see - The first automatic electronic stored-program computer in Australia and one of the first in the world, CSIRAC is practically intact and is the only first-generation computer still in existence. It's in its own glass-walled room, so you can just stand there and remember - and the flight from LA is only 14 hours or so for you Yankees - plenty of time to read up on it. http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/whatson/current-exhibitions/csirac/
The Museum of Science & Industry is still a great place to visit too, just a short distance south of the Field Museum. But as long as your in the area, it's worth it to stop by the Adler Planetarium as well, which is one of the geekiest places in The Windy City.