The Murtogh D. Guinness Collection

Guinness Collection

Guinness Gallery 10th Anniversary

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.

The Guinness Collection in the News

The conservator of the collection, Jeremie Ryder, speaks to WMBC-TV about Murtogh’s Music Room, part of the 10th Anniversary celebration this year.

Upcoming 2017 Events

Advance registration required for these events.  Please call 973.971.3706 to purchase tickets. 

Guinness Spotlight:
Curator’s Tour of Murtogh’s Music Room
Thursday, September 14, 2017, 6:30-8pm

In case you missed the first one, an encore and final presentation of Murtogh’s beloved mechanical musical instruments and automata.

Tickets: $15 per person

Family Film and Workshop Event
Saturday, October 7, 2017, 12:30-4pm

Enjoy a fun-filled day immersed in automata!  First, let us excite you with the film, Hugo, about a young boy and his automaton, in the Bickford Theater.   Afterward, enjoy fascinating automata from The Guinness Collection through live demonstrations.  Wrapping up the afternoon, each family receives a kit to construct and operate their own automaton to bring home!

Family (up to 2 adults, 3 children): $48
Family Extended (up to 2 adults, 6 children): $55

Order your tickets by Saturday, September 30 and save!
Family (up to 2 adults, 3 children) : $40
Extended Family (up to 2 adults, 6 children): $45


Guinness Gallery Rededication and “Rach” Concert
Sunday, December 3, 2017, 2:30-4:30pm,

If you were not present at the debut of the Guinness Gallery in 2007, we invite you to participate in this final festivity, as we celebrate the 10th anniversary with a formal Rededication Ceremony.   Following this observance, light refreshments will be served prior to a concert performed by the Ampico Reproducing Piano.  Experience the enchanting and energetic music of Sergei Rachmaninoff, one of the leading composers of the Romantic Era.  Several selections were actually recorded by the composer and reproduced for your enjoyment!

Tickets:  $15 per person

Proceeds from Anniversary programming will be used toward conservation of Collection objects. Please consider a further donation to support the Guinness Collection.

Background Information

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.

Collection Highlights

Mysterious Melodies of Madama Butterfly

"Harmoniphone" Program Card

“Harmoniphone” Program Card

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.

Audio clips:

1 – Sinfa/Mo-li-hua 2 – Chum Chie Lin 3 – Poutzi/Banzi/Pantse

4 – Loe Tee Kun Stin 5 – Shanghai mody 6 – She pah moh/Shiba-mo

“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

2003.18.216ab ”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 (?)





2003.18.242a-e“Organocleide” Cylinder Musical Box, Moulinié, Geneva, Switzerland, c.1855
Performing “Guillaume Tell. Chorus” by G. Rossini (1824-29)





2003.18“Orchestrophone” Fairground Organ, Limonaire Frères, Paris, France, c.1914.
Playing Lucien Brou’s “Echo de La Butte” of 1901.


2005.18a-g -web “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

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Limonaire Orchestrophone, Revez Mignon Waltz, c. 1914

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Musical Necessaire c.1825

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Mills Violano Virtuoso, St. Louis Blues, c.1925

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