Saturday, June 21, 2008

Many Links to the Guinness Collection of Automata

Mandolin Player Automaton from the Guinness collecttion
Check out the Murtogh D. Guinness collection at the Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J. -- about 20 minutes from Newark.

The exhibit -- to be opened on November 6th, 2008 -- features mechanical musical instruments and automata from the late 1500s through the early 20th century.

Assembled by the Guinness family (of brewing fame), the collection includes some 700 music boxes, multi-instrument devices, street organs, and mechanical figures.

* Here is a link to Morris Museum web site.
* Here is a link to the Guinness collection of automata page.
* Here is an article on the exhibit from The New York Times.
* There is also an article on the exhibit in the January 2008 issue of Magic magazine (Back issues, $6 USD).

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Friday, February 01, 2008

The Murtogh D. Guinness Automata Collection

Sean Hamilton, reader of The Automata / Automaton Blog, was kind enough to share with me his experience at the Morris Museum in New Jersey -- home of the Guinness automata collection. He has generously agreed to let me share it with you here.

Extracts from Sean's Email:

I'm sure you've posted about the Guinness Collection at the Morris Museum in the past, but I haven't seen anything since the permanent exhibition opened last November. I thought I would send you an update.

I was at the museum last week and the exhibit space is very nice. They start things off with a short film about the history of mechanical music, automata, and Mr. Guinness. The displays are heavy on music boxes and mechanical musical instruments but there is a good showing of automata and a nice interactive display with videos of all the exhibited automata in operation.

They do demonstrations of various pieces in the collection daily. The day I was there the demonstration included three musical items and two automata. The Limonaire Freres Orchestrophone was surprisingly loud and its rendition of "The Sidewalks of New York" was thrilling.

During the demonstrations they mentioned that there are 700 pieces in the collection, 150 currently on display and that the other 550 will be available for viewing later this spring. Their website has lots of additional information including movie clips of some of the pieces.

A big thanks to Sean for this glimpse of what must be an amazing museum. I can't wait to go!

Visit the Morris Museum web site for more information on the Guinness collection.

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