The Morris Museum Presents An Exhibition Exploring Coin-Operated Entertainment

June 30, 2016

The Morris Museum in Morristown, N.J., is presenting an exhibition exploring coin-operated entertainment from the early 20th century. Showcasing amusements, vending machines, and gambling devices, the exhibition will bring together objects from the museum's Murtogh D. Guinness collection and also works from private collections. "For Amusement Only: Arcades and Cafes" will be on view through Monday, Oct. 10.
In the early 20th century, coin-operated machines (known as coin-ops) contributed to the proliferation of vending, amusement and gaming devices. Historically, automatic vending machines delivered conveniences such as a matches, buttons, chewing gum, and cigars. In arcades, a variety of games of skill challenged individuals' mental and physical abilities. In cafes, bars, and other public venues, coin-operated games of chance stimulated trade and increased profits. Coin-ops inspired endless economic opportunities for manufacturers, business owners and entrepreneurs.
"For Amusement Only" will feature a re-created penny arcade and cafe from the early 20th century. The arcade will showcase popular amusements and automatic entertainment including a 1932 fortune-teller, "Grandmother's Predictions," made by Mutoscope International Reel Company Inc., and the 1927 "Hercules Grip Tester" by the Exhibit Supply Company. The cafe will feature numerous examples of vending and gambling machines complimented with a fascinating array of period coin-operated mechanical musical instruments.

About the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection
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. Highlights of the collection are displayed in a 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.

About the Morris Museum
Founded in 1913, the Morris Museum is an award-winning, community-based arts and cultural institution which serves the public through high caliber exhibitions in the arts, sciences and humanities. The museum also offers educational programs, family events, and is home to the Bickford Theatre and its wide range of performing arts offerings. Continuously serving the public since 1913, the Morris Museum has been designated a Major Arts Institution and has received the New Jersey State Council on the Arts' Citation of Excellence, among other awards. The first museum in New Jersey to be accredited, the Morris Museum was re-accredited in 2013 by the American Alliance of Museums.
The museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, N.J.
For more information, call 973-971-3700, or visit


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