Morris Museum Announces an Exhibition that Reimagines the Guinness Collection from a Contemporary Lens 

A Contemporary Spin: The Guinness Collection Re/Imagined is an exhibition of mechanical musical instruments and automata from the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection presented by the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey. The exhibition was developed by graduate students in the M.A. Museum Professions program at Seton Hall University, under the leadership of Professor Gregory Stevens and student co-project managers Christopher Bohm and Julie Golt. This exhibition is on view in Hedley Gallery from now through September 18, 2022.

Over the course of the Spring 2022 semester, student curators explored the historic Guinness Collection, mining it for contemporary stories these mechanical musical instruments and automata might tell. From this process, four themes emerged: stereotypes and identity; music in public spaces; technology and innovation; and migration and memory. This exhibition is the result of their work.

The mechanical musical instruments and automata in this exhibition relate to a variety of contemporary topics and technological innovations, like smartphones and Spotify. For example, in the 19th century, people had small music boxes, like the ones on display, in their homes to listen to music. Today, most of us have portable “music boxes” in our pockets through our smartphones, allowing us to listen to music on apps like Spotify anywhere on-the-go.

Major support provided by Novartis. Additional support provided by the College of Communications and the Arts, Seton Hall University.

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