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“Good time-killer”

National Electronics Museum
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Attraction details
Owner description: A small museum of electronics.
DC
Level Contributor
233 reviews
46 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
“Good time-killer”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 13, 2013

Admission is cheap ($3 per adult) and the exhibits are hands-on and interesting. It's a great place for techie-types to visit. My favorite part was where you stand in front of a heat-seeking camera and can see the cold parts of your face on a TV screen. Very cool and entertaining place to see in the area.

Visited October 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Miranda S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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50 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Arlington, Virginia
Level Contributor
482 reviews
194 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 236 helpful votes
“Electrical Engineers will love it!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 14, 2013 via mobile

The National Electronics Museum is a small - but dense - museum that is off the beaten path near a bunch of hotels near BWI Airport. The only reasons I found it were (1) I was staying at the Hilton down the street; and (2) there are some large old radar arrays displayed outside of the museum that used to be part of the anti-aircraft defenses designed to protect Washington, DC from Soviet bombers.

These arrays are pretty typical of the collection in the museum, which includes electronics from as far back as the early 19th century. The museum focuses on the development of electronics over the years, emphasizing certain applications of electronics, namely satellites, electronic counter measures for military aircraft, military radar and electronic communications technologies.

The museum itself is a little amateurish, with hand-typed placards on some exhibits and rather dingy display areas. But there are a bunch of interactive exhibits demonstrating electric principles and a cool infrared technology demonstration.

The challenge of this museum is that you'd really need to spend a lot of time here reading the explanations for how the technology works to appreciate it. While certain artifacts such as old satellites and ancient TVs are interesting to look at, most of the exhibits are boxes of wires, knobs and switches that are indistinguishable to a layperson, such as the dozens of radar jammers that all look the same. There are very detailed explanations of how all these devices work. It's pretty intimidating for someone like me with a non-science college degree. But someone interested in "how things work" would love it, and I'd have enjoyed spending some time learning about the principles and mechanics of these electronic devices about which I know very little. Unfortunately, I only had a few hours to spend here, and you'd really need more than that to read and understand many of these devices. Due to the technical nature of this museum, I imagine most young children would be very bored here. Really, the best reason to go here is to spend a day learning about electronics rather than to try to kill an hour or two waiting for a flight or meeting (which is what will likely bring most people here), as you just won't get that much out of it if you walk around looking at things without reading anything (unless you already have substantial knowledge of how electronics work).

It's an interesting museum with great learning opportunities, though, and the $3 admission fee is certainly reasonable. For a price that low, it's worth some time, even if you don't have hours and hours to devote to it.

Helpful?
2 Thank Brendan S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Clarksville,MD
Level Contributor
22 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Interesting electronics evolution”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 26, 2013 via mobile

Walked through with my 12 and 13 year old kids. I found it very interesting and walked out with some new knowledge of modern electronics and the principles behind it. My 13 year old son was intrigued but 12 year old daughter not so much.
They show evolution of many commonly used electronics and great displays of real hardware. There were also some push button demonstrations. We liked the Infrared camera. Took about an hour to go through and price was great.

Helpful?
Thank okiedokie_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
1 review
“Many great artifacts!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 26, 2012

The $3 admission fee for adults is a bargain. I was only able to spend an hour in the museum becuase I had to catch a flight. There is a ton of great interative displays and is interesting for people that are not very electronic savy.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank MartiniMe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
DeLand, Florida
Level Contributor
77 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Hidden Gem under our Noses”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 11, 2012

My wife and I took our "Cousin Camp" to the museum today. We did so with more than a little apprehension due to the age span of our five grandchildren; 5,7,8,9,11. We were more than pleasantly surprised. First and foremost, there were many hands-on displays and the information ranged from very basic to rather detailed technical things. It's located by BWI Airport along Nursery road where many of the airport hotels are located. Easy access and plenty of parking. Check this out for a great time with or without the kids. An hour or two is probably a good basic visit. The cost is very reasonable.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank Dana4656
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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