Wednesday, June 15, 2016


For Amusement OnlyFor Amusement Only: Arcades and Cafes

WHEN: June 16 – October 10
Morris Museum, 6 Normandy Hgts. Rd., Morristown
ADMISSION: Admission to the Museum is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and senior citizens. Admission is always free for Museum members.  For more information, call (973) 971-3700, or visit

Beginning June 16, the Morris Museum will present an exhibition exploring coin-operated entertainment from the early twentieth century. Showcasing amusements, vending machines, and gambling devices, the exhibition will bring together objects from the Museum’s Murtogh D. Guinness Collection and works from private collections.

In the early twentieth 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 twentieth century. The arcade will showcase popular amusements and automatic entertainment including a 1932 fortune-teller, “Grandmother’s Predictions,” (above) 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.

In conjunction with "For Amusement Only," the Guinness Collection staff will present the following programs.  Due to limited space, reservations are strongly encouraged for free and paid programs. Further program and ticket information is available by calling 973.971.3706 or online at

  • Special Exhibit Demonstration, Thursday, June 30, 6:30PM, Free
  • Special Exhibit Demonstration, Saturday, July 23, 1:00PM, Free
  • Special Exhibit Demonstration, Friday, August 12, 3:00PM, Free
  • Special Exhibit Demonstration, Monday, October 10, 1:00PM, Free
  • Curator’s Tour, Thursday, September 15, 6:30PM, $7 Members; $9 Non-Members

Image: Grandmother's Predictions Fortune Teller, 1932. Mutoscope International Reel Company, Inc., NY.

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 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.

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 Morris Museum is a Blue Star Museum, offering free admission to active duty military personnel and their families, from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

Location & Hours
The Museum is located at 6 Normandy Heights Road (at the corner of Columbia Turnpike) in Morristown, NJ, and is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday, 12:00 to 5:00pm. In addition, the Museum is open evenings from 5:00 to 8:00pm on the second and third Thursday of the month.