The collection in the Nickelodeon is actually the only museum which publicly features mechanical musical devices in all of Western Canada. There are other places like it but they are not open to the public. The entire collection that is featured in this museum helps to illustrate the large history of the development of automatic music for people's enjoyment. The collection starts with an eighteenth century barrel organ which marks the beginning of the industry's history and then finally ends with a set of jukeboxes that date back to the nineteen fifties. Other interesting pieces that are featured in the collection range from small reed organettes to some of the largest organs around such as the Aeolian residence pipe organ which actually has more than six hundred and fifty different pipes. heliskiing canada
Automatic piano history is represented by a variety of instruments ranging from an English residence barrel piano from 1815 to an Aeolian Duo-Art reproducing piano and a Steinway grand Pianola. The musical box collection encompasses Swiss instruments from a musical pocket watch from circa 1800 to a Grand Format interchangeable cylinder box with 15 cylinders. Disc boxes range from a small child’s box by Thorens to a 24 ½” self-changing Polyphon over 6 feet tall.
The Nickelodeon museum also has a collection of instruments illustrating the history of recorded sound. Machines by Edison, HMV/Victor and Columbia are featured, together with rare instruments by smaller manufacturers, such as the EMG Hand Made Gramophone with a huge paper maché horn nearly 30” in diameter. Extending from this collection are the jukeboxes, which include a Mills Studio machine from 1936, a Mills Panoram video juke box from 1940 and machines by Wurlitzer, Rock-Ola, AMI and Seeburg. Ancilliary is the vintage radio collection, which features receivers from the dawn of broadcasting to transistor novelty radios up to the 1980s, mostly in working condition.
Magic Lantern history and that of early movie projection is also included, the magic lantern collection featuring items from the 1790s up to the mighty Chatham Pexton Tri-Unial lantern, which we use for magic lantern shows from time to time. Regular Vintage Movie Nights are performed on a roughly monthly basis, sometimes using vintage projectors.
Tours of their collection take from about an hour upwards, depending upon how many questions you ask of course. The tour includes many demonstrations of the instruments (they typically play about 20 of them in a tour) and you get to be conducted around by a knowledgeable guide who is able to tell you about the history and workings of the instruments.
You may even be able to have a go at peddling, winding or operating the instruments, but this depends upon how busy we are at the time. You can always make an appointment to try things out ‘after hours’ if you are particularly interested. Private group heliskiing