A Glimpse into Bob’s World

Michelle Moog-Koussa almost has his iconic hair, and she sure shares two other things with her famous father: his generosity and his painstaking determination.

And while her mission to build a museum to showcase Bob Moog’s legacy to the world is still years in the making, Moogfest-goers don’t have to wait nearly that long to get a taste of the future.

This weekend, the Bob Moog Foundation — the nonprofit founded by the family, friends and colleagues of the late inventor to pass down his creative spirit through preservation and educational outreach (and which has no affiliation to the for-profit Moog Music) — will display a portion of Bob’s archives and prototype instruments at the Moogaplex in the Haywood Park Hotel. It’s a rare peek into the mind one of the 20th century’s greatest electronic pioneers.

“We don’t want to have to wait until we have a multimillion dollar facility to share what we’re doing,” says Moog-Koussa, BMF’s executive director. “There’s all this stuff that’s sitting here in our office and in storage that deserves a place to be shared with the public.”

The vast majority of the future Moogseum artifacts were salvaged from Bob’s workshop after his death in 2005. The 2,000-square-foot aluminum shed, which sat just across the driveway from his house, was packed floor to ceiling with an array of vintage instruments, books of schematics, personal letters and other Moog memorabilia, all in a “state of peril,” according to Moog-Koussa.

Since then, the family, with a lot of help from volunteers, have been hard at work cataloging and preserving his archives. So far they’ve concentrated on the most delicate items first, restoring nearly 100 of Bob’s reel-to-reel tapes from the ‘60 and ‘70s, thanks in large part to two grants from the Grammy Foundation. (Those restored tapes will be the subject of one of the panels during Moogfest.) It’s quite an accomplishment, especially for a grassroots organization that started out with very modest means.

“My dad was not a rich man,” says Moog-Koussa. “He was a brilliant pioneer, a brilliant technician, but he was not a brilliant businessman.”

BMF is hoping to raise $60,000 to get started on a feasibility and marketing study for the Moogseum in the next few months. In the meantime, Moog-Koussa is working on an upcoming traveling exhibit, as well as looking into building a smaller, beta Moogsuem within the next two years. She is also busy bringing her father’s spirit of discovery into local classrooms with Dr. Bob’s Sound School, a program that teaches kids about the science of sound through hands-on lessons using theremins and analog synths. 

And this year, BMF has made it even easier to help support their considerable projects. Besides receiving $1 from every Moogfest ticket sold, the nonprofit has also scattered QR codes around the city that can link you to the website where you can donate directly. And for you beer drinkers — and, honestly, who’s not in this town? — definitely check out Asheville Brewing Company’s limited edition Moog Filtered Ale, proceeds of which benefit the foundation.

For full Moogfest coverage, click here.

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