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Preservation of Nevada’s history could have gone a different route if Bob Nylen had stuck with his original college major of accounting.

Luckily for the state, midway through his time the University of Nevada, Reno, Nylen “found out quickly I wasn’t cut out to be an accountant, but I was cut out to be a historian.”

Nylen, 67, of Dayton, went on to spend 43 years as a state employee, including 36 years with the Nevada State Museum. He retired Monday as the museum’s curator of history, a role he’s held since 1989.

“From the beginning of my school years, that was always my best subject. I was one of the outstanding students in history. I always excelled, and I always had a great love of my family’s history,” he said. “Just being in the Chicago area (where he grew up) with so many different ethnic groups, just appreciating the history of our relatives of how they came over and how they became Americans – it kind of gave me an interest. And I just always had a great memory. It helps to have that when you’re a historian.”

Nylen, who also has a…