The Geek Atlas: terrific tech shrines that every geek should see

This new book outlines the best places in the world for nerds and geeks to visit before they die. We selected some favorite places, including the HP Garage, the MIT Museum, and da Vinci's last home.

The Computer History Museum, Mountain View, California

Almost all major science museums around the world have sections tracing the history of the computer, but they pale in comparison to the Computer History Museum.

The museum is housed in the old Silicon Graphics headquarters (itself an iconic Silicon Valley building), which the museum bought in 2002. Silicon Graphics was once a maker of high-performance computers for graphics that made possible 1990s films such as "Jurassic Park." The design and architecture of the building speak of the extreme wealth of Silicon Valley prior to the end of the Internet boom.

The museum is a work in progress, with as much information available online through its excellent Web site as in the building itself. But unlike many computer science museums, the Computer History Museum brings computing to life through exhibits that are explained both in general terms for the casual visitor and in glorious detail for the gearheads.

Shown above is Bell Labs' first transistor.

Photo courtesy of The Porticus Centre.

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