Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Automata Convention Returns to Morristown, New Jersey

AutomataCon 2016AutomataCon

WHEN: May 18 – 20, 2018
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. To become a Member, and visit the museum year-round for free visit, email, or call 973.971.3721.

AutomataCon is a convention of and for artists, collectors, historians, and enthusiasts of automatons and related kinetic art. It is a three-day event being held at and in conjunction with the Morris Museum in Morristown, New Jersey, home of the Murtogh D. Guinness Collection of Mechanical Musical Instruments and Automata.

AutomataCon, Brett King. Photo by Thomas KelcekThe goal of the convention is to gather people from around the world to share ideas, build relationships, and grow interest in automata new and old. As can be seen from the ever-growing Attendee Gallery, beginners as well as some of the premiere artists, collectors, historians, and authors in the automaton community from around the world plan to be in attendance (list subject to change). The convention will include a variety of private and public programming, including social gatherings, museum tours, panel discussions, live demonstrations, workshops, presentations, and exhibitors.

The convention coincides with the Morris Museum’s first-ever juried exhibition of kinetic art, “A Cache of Kinetic Art: Curious Characters.” The exhibition bridges the gap between vintage and contemporary kinetic art, allowing visitors to experience the creativity and excitement of this unique art form. Many of the artists in the exhibition will be in attendance at AutomataCon. (Above, right: Brett King. Photo courtesy of Thomas Kelcek.)

Highlights of this year’s convention programming (subject to change) include a Friday night reception, a presentation by illusion-builder John Gaughan on the infamous “Chess-playing Turk” automaton, the presentation “Dancing with Droids” with Marian van Dijk, Director of Museum Speelklok the Netherlands, who illustrates the connections between self-playing musical instruments and robots, and multiple discussion panels with some of the foremost automata artists in the world. Admittance to these programs requires a ticket to AutomataCon, which can be purchased online or on-site. More details on tickets and the schedule can be found HERE.

Visitors to the Morris Museum, who are not attending the convention, will still have access to a wide range of automata programming, including a museum court with visiting automata exhibitors, artists, and vendors main hall, the opportunity to meet Ellen Rixford, author of the masterpiece "Figures in the Fourth Dimension", seeing live demonstrations of numerous kinetic artworks in the exhibit:  "A Cache of Kinetic Art: Curious Characters" as well as in the famed Guinness Gallery, and workshops where they can create their own automata in hands-on workshops, suitable for children.

About AutomataCon
AutomataCon is a convention of and for artists, collectors, historians, and enthusiasts of automatons and related kinetic art founded by Brett King. The inaugural convention was held in March 2016 at the Morris Museum.

The idea for a convention stemmed from the fellowship that developed in the Automata / Automaton Group and Mechanical Adventures groups on Facebook. The convention has helped build relationships while also fostering the sharing of knowledge amongst automata makers and enthusiasts around the world.

For more details follow visit the AutomatCon website or the Facebook page  for the latest news on the convention.

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 and 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. For more information, call (973) 971-3700, or visit