Tuesday, September 05, 2006

For the Collectors: The Guinness Collection of Automata

The Morris Museum was recently awarded The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of 700 historic mechanical musical instruments and automata. The extraordinary collection represents one of the most significant of its kind in the world. The museum is currently showcasing 60 of these objects in the exhibition Musical Machines and Living Dolls: Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection.

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 nearly 700 pieces.

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.



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