SARATOGA SPRINGS — Universal Preservation Hall will open Sunday — not with a show, but with a rock ‘n’ roll exhibition.
“Part of the Machine: Rock & Pinball,” a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame exhibition, features playable pinball machines from legendary musicians such as Elvis, Metallica, Dolly Parton and others. It also includes instruments and memorabilia from popular bands.
“Rock ‘n’ 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 at the Rock and 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.”
During the 1960s pinball became a symbol of rebellion, and was linked to the rock ‘n’ roll genre partly because of The Who’s hit song “Pinball Wizard.” The acoustic guitar that Pete Townshend used to compose the song will be on display as part of the exhibit.
Alice Cooper’s latest pinball machine, Alice Cooper’s Nightmare Castle, will also be part of the exhibit. The game is narrated by Cooper and features several songs spanning his career.
Other pinball machines include Captain Fantastic, based on the album by Elton John; and Beat Time, inspired by the Beatles; as well as others inspired by the Rolling Stones, Dolly Parton, Guns N’ Roses, Elvis, Metallica, KISS and AC/DC. Some are for viewing only, but many are playable.
“Part of the Machine” will be the first in-person programming that UPH has hosted since it had to close its doors due to COVID-19.
“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.
The exhibition will run from Sunday through Sept. 26. Visits will be timed in 90-minute blocks and tickets are available for the following time slots: 10 a.m., noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. each day, as well as 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday.
Each visitor will be required to wear a face mask and will be provided with gloves while playing the pinball machines. Everyone must also maintain social distancing. A UPH staff member will take and record each visitor’s temperature and contact information in case there’s a need for contact tracing. Surfaces, including handrails, light switches, exhibit pieces, restrooms and other commonly used areas, will be sanitized.
Capacity will be limited to 20 people at first, though the number will be reevaluated regularly.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. For information or to purchase tickets, visit universalpreservationhall.org.