" A recurring theme in our conversation is that much is lost to the programming community because we don't have a good sense of history."
Anyone interested in the history of computing should check out not only the Computer History Museum, but also Bruce Damer's DigiBarn.
I donated my Valdocs system, NeXT Slab, and BeBox to the DigiBarn. Each represented not so much a hardware revolution, but more of a change in the way users interacted with their environments.
The programming environment that came with NeXTStep was, at the time, nothing short of a miracle. I'm happy to see it make it's return as MacOS X.