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Indepth Arts News:

"The Marvelous Marbles of Bert Cohen"
2003-04-12 until 2003-09-07
Fuller Museum of Art
Brockton, MA, USA United States of America

It has been a game played by ancient Roman Emperors, spoken of by Shakespeare, and argued over by children of all nationalities for at least 6000 years. Beginning April 12th, adults and children alike can learn more about the ancient game of marbles and its wide-reaching influence across the globe. Bertram Cohen, a Boston resident and world-renown marble enthusiast, will make his vast collection public at the Fuller Museum of Art’s educational exhibition "The Marvelous Marbles of Bert Cohen."

With over 300,000 marbles and an extensive archive of marble-related materials and toys, Cohen’s collection spans 4000 years and nearly every continent of the globe. Cohen, a retired toy manufacturer, began collecting marbles over 40 years ago and since then has devoted himself to sponsoring marble tournaments that introduce a new generation of Americans to the age-old pastime.

"I would rather see kids shooting marbles than shooting drugs or themselves," says Cohen, who organizes the annual Marlborough Marble Meet and marble activities for First Night in Boston. He also lends his support to marble tournaments around the globe, including the US National Marbles Tournament in Wildwood, NJ and the World Marbles Championship in Tinsley Green, England.

The exhibition will serve as a retrospective of the game of marbles and its influence on American life in the 20th century. Included in the exhibition are examples of marbles from ancient Egypt and Rome, Native American clay marbles, African dowry beads, antique German marbles, and an assortment of machine made marbles. A variety of contemporary glass artists such as Josh Simpson and Richard Marquis will have their collectable marbles on display. Viewers will learn the history of the US National Marbles Tournament and see the trophy of the first girl to win the championship. Massachusetts’ own marble history is chronicled through tournament buttons, ribbons and photographs of players in Boston Common. Many of Cohen’s collection of marble games, including antique and modern board games will be on display. Visitors will also have the opportunity to "knuckle down" themselves and try one of several marble games.

"We want visitors to experience the many different aspects of marbles—from their history as a game to their modern function as collectable works of art," says Dawn Low, the FMA Director of Education. "But what better way to understand the allure of marbles than to hold them in your hand and try to win a game of ‘ringer’ for yourself."

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