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Invasion of the robotic kind; Retrobots on display beginning today at Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum

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Beginning today, a curious collection of retrobots awaits the public at Roswell’s newest museum, the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum, 320 N. Richardson Ave.

What are these retrobots? They are vintage toy robots, rockets, saucers, astronauts, spacemobiles and moviebots.

The selection is part of a larger collection by Howard Vasquez. Vasquez has been collecting since the late 1990s, finding treasures at yard sales, secondhand stores and even a missing arm on eBay. His collection includes tin and early plastic toys from around the world.

The oldest robot toy in Howard’s collection is from the late ‘40s, but he also owns reproductions of older models. It all started innocently on a vacation with Vasquez’ wife in Delaware. In a junk store a one-armed vintage toy robot caught Vasquez’ eye. For $10 the robot switched owners and an obsession was born.

“Most of Howard’s retrobots are not pristine, or in mint condition. He doesn’t mind a missing part or a little rust. It adds to their character, their unknown history of past owners and past travels,” Nancy Fleming said.

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Fleming is the director of the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art and the co-founder of the Miniatures and Curious Collections Museum. “MCCM is proud to be the first public venue to showcase Howard’s robot and space toy collection, and we give due to Jacob Roebuck for dubbing it ‘Retrobots,’” she said. “Altogether we have 54 robots from Howard Vasquez. Additionally we have a few from the next generation from Nancy Phillips.” Phillips has a gallery and studio: Phillips Second Street Studio, 1004 E. Second St.

Today, Vasquez searches the internet to find new antique robots to add to his collection of 200-plus pieces. To his surprise, there are other fans out in the world. He said that it seems physicists are prone to catching the bot bug.

The museum’s hours are today and tomorrow, from 3 to 9 p.m., July 1-5, from 3 to 8 p.m. and during the UFO Festival, July 6-8, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information, visit ufofestivalroswell.com/retrobots-invading-roswell-new-mexico.

Christina Stock may be contacted at 622-7710, ext. 309, or at vision@rdrnews.com.

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