Late collector’s vintage Macs find a new home at Montana museum

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Adam Rosen's Vintage Mac Museum
The Vintage Mac Museum heads west to Montana
Photo: Adam Rosen

Apple museums have popped up all over the world, but none with the quirky love that filled the rooms of Adam Rosen’s Massachusetts home. He passed away in August and grieving family and friends vowed to find a new place to plug in his self-made Vintage Mac Museum.

Rosen’s father, Robert, told Cult of Mac the family has donated his son’s collection of more than 100 working machines to the American Computer and Robotics Museum in Bozeman, Montana.

The museum, Robert Rosen said, will create a memorial to Adam Rosen, highlighting the story behind the collection. The museum hopes to display Adam’s vintage Macs in the fall of 2020.

American Computer and Robotics Museum
Adam Rosen.
Photo courtesy Robert Rosen

‘This has been a labor of love to find a museum to give a legacy to my son a new tribute for his passion in creating this collection,” Robert said. “Adam’s friends at MIT provided a contact list of approximately 18 to 20 museums around the world that displayed (vintage Apple) units. I contact all of the museums… and the most receptive to the idea was ACRM.”

American Computer and Robotics Museum ‘inch for inch’ the best

Bozeman, Montana seems an unlikely location for a computer magazine, a faraway place isolated from the hum and bustle of the Silicon Valley.

But the ACRM is one of the first computer museums and, according to Harvard scientist Edward O. Willson, is “inch for inch the best museum in the world.”

It was started in 1990 by collector George Keremedjiev with exhibits that span nearly 4,000 years, from the original cuneiform tablets to early personal computers, including an Apple 1 donated by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Adam Rosen, who was 53 when he died from pancreatic cancer, was well known to tech collectors. An MIT grad, he was an Apple-certified consultant and IT specialist in the Boston area.

He collected only the most important Macs (that meant no Performas were allowed in his home) with all the peripheral devices, manuals and software.

His museum started with a Mac bought at a swap meet in 2001. Soon, computers piled up in his kitchen and spread throughout his room. The 100 or so working machines were kept running by another 100 or so that were stored for parts.

“This is our generation’s version of collecting vintage cars,” Rosen told Cult of Mac in 2017. “The car for so many people was the center of American life. You souped it up and it defined you. You are preserving that part of your identity. I’ve been thinking about this for a while, the importance of collecting.

“In a way, it’s nice when Apple is done with a product because then it belongs to us.”