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Museum Offers History Of Technology

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BOZEMAN -

It is hard to escape technology these days. In fact, you are using it now to read this news article. But what is it? The American Computer and Robotics Museum has been helping people in Bozeman answer that question for 23 years.

The museum started out as George Kermedjiev's private collection back in the 1980s.

"I bought a little device that even the antique dealer didn't know what it was, so I took it home and did some research and discovered it was an early adding machine made in 1904," said Kermedjiev, American Computer and Robotics Museum founder.

Kermedjiev was living in New Jersey when he and his wife decided they wanted to start a technology museum, but they were planning on moving west.

"After scouring the west, we came to Bozeman and decided after a few hours it would be perfect," said Kermedjiev.

The American Computer and Robotics Museum opened in a small building downtown in May 1990. And in the 23 years the museum has been open, people from all over the world have visited. Kermedjiev said other area attractions help.

"They come to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks and those who have an interest in history of technology make a stop hear," said Kermedjiev.  "As well as Museum of the Rockies, many times we will get Museum of the Rockies visitors who in the afternoon generally come here."

Peter Cauchy visited the museum while on vacation from Colman, Michigan. He said the museum reminded him of his childhood.

"I saw they have a lot of interesting things including a lot of things I grew up with, said Cauchy. "A lot of stuff from my childhood and things I've always been interested in."

Keremedjiev said the museum is designed for the average non-technical person.

"You don't need to have any type of background to get a lot out of it," said Kermedjiev. "Of course, if you're a geek, a techy, you will be right at home, there's a lot to see."

There is one piece of technology you won't see in the American Computer and Robotics Museum, an iPhone or Android phone.

"The 1980s right now is a good era to showcase as to being the latest," said Kermedjiev. "A lot of technology is a flash in the pan and disappears. So the 80s through the mid-1990s would be the latest technology." Right now, the museum doesn't have enough space to display all the technology they own.

"We have in storage several large computer systems," said Keremedjiev. "And by that I mean computer systems the size of a small house. To show those properly, you need easily 500 to 1,000 square feet per computer."

Keremedjiev said they need about 20,000 square feet to display everything they own. They are currently in a 6,000 square feet building. Keremedjiev said he would like to stay near his current location.

"And we hope that in the next few years we can find a location close to the campus like this one is so the students and faculty can use us as a resource, but with a vastly enlarged content," said Keremedjiev.

The museum is open during the summer 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Winter hours run September through May. Those are noon - 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It is free to the public.

To learn more about the American Computer and Robotics Museum, click here.

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