Universal Preservation Hall to Reopen July 26 with Interactive Exhibit “Part of the Machine: Rock and Pinball”

Saratoga Springs, home of the new Universal Preservation Hall, will open the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame exhibit “Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball.” This interactive exhibit, presented by the Adirondack Trust Company, will have a two-month run showcasing rock-themed pinball machines paired with merchandise and rock & roll artifacts displaying the artistic expression of the featured artists.

A partner in the Proctors Collaborative, UPH has made advance tickets available at universalpreservationhall.org, rates are currently $20 for adults and $10 for students, with day of tickets being $25 for adults and $15 for students. Your purchased ticket will buy you a 90-minute block of time in the exhibit, with blocks starting at 10 a.m., 2 p.m., and 4 p.m. each day. Hours will be extended to include two additional blocks at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The capacity for each time block will initially be set to 20 guests and the event will conclude on Saturday, Sept. 26. 

“It wasn’t clear when COVID-19 came along that we could hold the event but now that museums are reopening in the state we are proceeding with our plans,” said Teddy Foster, director at UPH. 

In compliance with CDC and New York State guidelines each visitor, staff person, and volunteer will be required to bring and wear a face mask as well as wear provided gloves while playing the pinball machines. All individuals will also be required to maintain proper social distancing. UPH staff will also take and record each individual’s temperature and procure proper tracing information. Before and after each time block all surfaces including handrails, light switches, elevators, exhibit pieces, restrooms, and common surfaces will be sanitized.

pinball machine exhibit

“Rock and roll and pinball have a lot in common. Loud, colorful and rebellious, it was inevitable that the two would combine to celebrate rock’s icons,” said Karen Herman, Vice President of Collections and Curatorial Affairs, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. “A number of artists and bands have been immortalized in pinball games. It gives fans another way to experience the energy and power of rock and uniquely connect with their favorite artists.”

Making its debut as part of the exhibit is Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Inductee and shock rock pioneer Alice Cooper’s newest pinball machine – Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle. The classic horror adventure game is narrated by Cooper himself and features a number of songs spanning Cooper’s career and a working guillotine set piece. 

Fans can also view pioneering pinball machines of their favorite musicians such as Captain Fantastic (1976), based on the album by Elton John and his character in Tommy, and Beat Time (1967), one of the oldest rock and roll tables, which capitalizes on Beatlemania, featuring several mop-topped musicians and a drumhead emblazoned with “The Bootles.”

Other rare and sought-after playable machines in the exhibit pay tribute to the Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Guns N’ Roses, Elvis, Metallica, KISS, and AC/DC. From Peter Criss of KISS’ drum set to Dolly Parton’s dress that inspired the backglass for the DollyParton pinball machine, fans will find other artifacts on display as they learn more about the popular pinball and rock subculture.


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