Shortly after pulling into Bozeman, I was surprised and skeptical to find a computer museum on my map. Surely, I thought, the map must be mistaken. This is Montana, Big Sky Country, not Silicon Valley.
But, I was wrong. Nestled in an office complex just southwest of the Montana State University campus, I found the American Computer Museum. It’s small but nicely done and enjoyable. The museum emphasizes computing and communication, so the exhibits are not entirely computers. Their website lists the collection. I particularly enjoyed the Altair 680 (a Motorola 6800-based machine), the Apple I (yes, a real Apple I), the Minuteman missile guidance computer, and original manuscripts by folks like Curie, Bacon, Darwin, Newton, and Maxwell.
I wish a few of the computers were operational, but all of them were static displays. I wish more of the computers had accompanying technical and historical details.
Still, I very much enjoyed the museum and was pleasantly surprised to find a non-profit computer museum in the middle of Montana. My opinion of Bozeman and Montana are a bit higher because of it.