The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection
Guinness Collection Entry Gallery Fundraising Campaign
The year 2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the installation of the Guinness Collection at the Morris Museum. Over the last decade, the Museum has hosted nearly one million visitors, conducted thousands of tours and group visits, and shared our Guinness treasures with audiences world-wide through loans to other institutions.
We are pleased to announce an important fund-raising campaign to modify the Guinness Entry Gallery. The existing space will be redesigned to showcase a rotating selection of stunning instruments from both the Museum’s collection and private lenders. The iconic 1913 Popper’s ‘Rex’ Orchestrion will be visually highlighted and continue to greet visitors as they pass through this new gateway into the collection. The total estimate for the project is $17,000.
Please consider helping the Morris Museum reach our fundraising goal. Donations of any amount are tax-deductible and a donor plaque will adorn the gallery upon completion.
If you have questions, please contact Michele Marinelli at [email protected]
In 2003, the Morris Museum was awarded the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of 750 historic mechanical musical instruments and automata (mechanical figures) and more than 5,000 programmed media, ranging from player piano rolls to pinned cylinders.
As one of the most significant collections of its kind in the world, highlights of the collection are displayed in a spectacular 4,300 square foot permanent exhibition Musical Machines & Living Dolls: Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection. This interactive exhibition features more than 150 pieces from this extraordinary collection and takes visitors on a journey through the history of on-demand musical entertainment. Viewable storage provides visitors with broader access to the balance of the collection.
Come enjoy our daily demonstrations, Tuesdays through Sundays at 2 p.m.
The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection: A Life’s Work
The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection reflects the passion of its namesake for preserving and sharing the joys of antique mechanical musical instruments and automata. Murtogh D. Guinness (1913-2002) regarded the collection as his life’s work, and he persistently traveled the globe to search for the finest surviving instruments of their kind. He lived day-to-day with these devices, studying and refining for over 50 years what became a collection of 750 objects.
Virtually every category of mechanical musical instruments and automata from the late 16th century through the early 20th century is represented in the Murtogh D. Guinness collection, which was awarded to the Morris Museum in 2003. At the core are cylinder and disc music boxes. Made in Switzerland and France beginning in the late 18th century, cylinder music boxes stand as living documents of the arias, overtures and waltzes of the time. The disc music boxes of the late 19th century show a shift to a broader audience and to more popular music. In the 1890s, disc box production expanded from Germany to Switzerland and also to the United States, where New Jersey became the home of American music box production. The collection includes numerous instruments made in Jersey City, Rahway and Bradley Beach.
Like the mechanical musical instruments in the collection, the musical, French-made automata represent a broad array of styles. Snake charmers, magicians, singing birds, and other figures in the Murtogh D. Guinness collection showcase the talents of their makers and constitute one of the largest public holdings of automata in the United States.
Mysterious Melodies of Madama Butterfly
Discover the music box in the Morris Museum’s Guinness Collection that is deemed the Rosetta Stone for the origins of melodies in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly.
“Buffet Magique” or The Magic Cupboard Automaton by G. Vichy/Triboulet, c.1900
Tightrope Dancer with Musicians Automaton by Phalibois or Cruchet, c.1875
“Floutiste”, Life-size Flute Player, Automaton by A. Théroude, c.1869-77
“Maid Dusting Portrait,” Automaton by Louis Renou, c.1900
“Clown Illusionist” or Clown Magician, Automaton by Phalibois, c.1895
“Méphistophélès”, Automaton, by Leopold Lambert, c.1886-1900
Poppers “REX” Orchestrion, by Popper & Co., c.1915
”Home Music Box,” Reed Organette, The Autophone Co., Ithaca, NY., 1908
Performing: “The Arkansas Traveler” (c.1847-50), attributed to Colonel Sanford C. Faulkner, Jose Tosso or Mose Case (?)
“Organocleide” Cylinder Musical Box, Moulinié, Geneva, Switzerland, c.1855
Performing “Guillaume Tell. Chorus” by G. Rossini (1824-29)
“Orchestrophone” Fairground Organ, Limonaire Frères, Paris, France, c.1914.
Playing Lucien Brou’s “Echo de La Butte” of 1901.
“Sublima Corona” Style 32, coin-operated Disc Musical Box, Regina Music Box Co., Rahway, New Jersey, c.1899
Performing: “Wedding Bells Rag” by Al B. Coney (1910)
Guinness Collection Ringtones
Poppers Rex, Indian Love Call, c. 1923
Limonaire Orchestrophone, Revez Mignon Waltz, c. 1914
Musical Necessaire c.1825
Mills Violano Virtuoso, St. Louis Blues, c.1925Download Now