Originally named the American Computer Museum, the American Computer and Robotics Museum focuses on the history of robotics, artificial intelligence, communications, and computing. Located in Bozeman, the museum was established in 1990 as a non-profit organization by George and Barbara Keremedjiev. Initially, the museum was meant to be built in Princeton, New Jersey. However, the site location changed to Bozeman when the founders of the museum moved to the city.
The American Computer and Robotics Museum is considered to be the oldest extant museum in the world dedicated to the history of computers. The title originally was held by The Computer Museum, located in Boston, but that museum closed its doors in 1999. The mission of the museum is "to collect, preserve, interpret, and display the artifacts and history of the information age."
There are numerous permanent exhibits on display throughout the American Computer and Robotics Museum. The Brains & Thinking Machines exhibit comprehensively focuses on automation, robotics, and artificial intelligence. Popular science fiction and technological expectations of America are showcased in The Age of American Optimism - 1939-1969. The Cal Tech exhibit displays the first original prototype of the pocket calculator and the first successful prototype of the electronic handheld calculator.
Another exhibit at the American Computer and Robotics Museum illustrates 1,700 years of women in technology and science. Visitors can see autographed items and original documents from many women who have greatly contributed to the sciences, including Ride, Franklin, Goodall, Currie, Lovelace, and Lavoisier among others. The unique The Apple 1 and the Altair exhibit focuses on the origins and history of Apple, Inc. There is an emphasis in the exhibit on Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, the Apple 1 Computers, and several photographs, documents, and other historic company artifacts. Also on display are an Altair Computer, as well as an original Popular Electronics Magazine from January 1975 that announced the Altair signed by Monte Davidoff, Paul Allen, Bill Gates, and Ed Roberts.
There are many other exhibits to be seen at the American Computer and Robotics Museum, such as Texting from the Babylonians through the Telegraph, which features a replica of a Gutenberg Press. Wired and Wireless Communications focuses televisions, radios, mobile phones, phonographs, and the earliest telephones. Other exhibits include Weaving Looms to Punched Cards to Software; Personal Computers and Video Games; Four Generations of Computers Using Relays, Vacuum Tubes, Transistors and Chips; and Internet History, Miniaturization and a Comparison of an Actual Human Brain and a Personal Computer.
The collection of computing and robotic artifacts and other items at the American Computer and Robotics Museum includes much more than what's displayed in the already mentioned exhibits. Among the many holdings of the museum is a replica of a Antikythera mechanism, the earliest known geared mechanism from 100 BC. Other items include the Minuteman 1 Missile Guidance Computer, an Apollo Guidance Computer borrowed from the Smithsonian, and signed microcomputing artifacts. Visitors can also see Electronic, electrical, and mechanical toys, such as Pong and Consul the Educated Monkey, as well as an industrial robot.
2023 Stadium Drive, Bozeman, Montana, website, Phone: 406-582-1288