Like Clockwork!: Guinness Collection Conservation at the Morris Museum

Like Clockwork!

Guinness Collection Conservation at the Morris Museum

How do we keep hundreds of mechanical objects running like clockwork for twenty years?

This exhibition takes you behind the scenes at the Morris Museum. Observe how Murtogh D. Guinness Collection Conservator Jere Ryder investigates the inner workings and condition of individual objects of mechanical music and automata. Treatment can take one of three paths. Routine maintenance preserves pieces in their current condition. Conservation by our recognized specialist repairs damaged parts. Historic works can be restored to their original state after extensive research and consultation with colleagues world-wide. Explore before and after photographs and select examples from Jere’s current and upcoming projects.

Part technical, part artistic, and fully professional, Jere’s work here at the Morris Museum demonstrates his passion for the performance aspect of a unique collection that for two decades – and counting – has delighted and entertained audiences of all ages. The goal of this show is to inspire the next generation to consider a career in object conservation.

This exhibition is made possible by leadership support from Will and Mary Leland.

Generous support for Guinness Collection conservation projects featured in this gallery was provided by the East Coast Chapter, Musical Box Society International and Shelly and Nick Schorsch, with additional support by Elise Roenigk, Ted and Ida Matejus, and Carolyn L. Polisano.

At the Morris Museum, Jere Ryder continues to mentor and advise interns, students, scholars, enthusiasts, and visitors. Working alongside the Guinness Collection Curator, he has helped create and present over 40 Guinness Collection Spotlight and Composer Series programs. Jere has co-curated numerous Guinness exhibits: Rags, Those Beautiful Rags (2013), Musically, Made in New Jersey (2015), For Amusement Only: Arcades & Cafés (2016), Murtogh’s Music Room (2017), Musically Timed (2022-2023) and the successful international juried four-year Cache of Kinetic Art series: Curious Characters (2018), Simply Steampunk (2019), Tiny Intricacies (2020), and Timeless Movements (2022).

Jere Ryder brings to the museum over 50 years experience in the field of mechanical musical instruments and automata. He researches, repairs, conserves, and advises collectors and museums world-wide. Jere studied and had apprenticeship-style working relationships with contemporary makers in Switzerland such as Reuge S.A. and the late Michel Bertrand, successor to premier 19th-century automata makers Gustav & Henry Vichy, later August Triboulet, Grasselli, and Les Jouets et Automates Français (J.A.F.).

Image Caption: Detail of Monkey Diner at Table automaton, 1880. Jean Marie Phalibois (1835–1900), Paris, France. Murtogh D. Guinness Collection, 2003.18.707a-b. Morris Museum workbench studio, Jere Ryder, Guinness Collection Conservator. Photography Jean Minthe for the Morris Museum.
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