This is an archived article.

December 7, 2006

Magic Lantern technology lives again at the Burke

You can bring the family and experience the charm of a 19th century technology that was the forerunner of motion pictures at the Burke’s holiday event, “Magic Lanterns and the Birth of Photography,” from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 30. Learn about the lantern slide technology featured in the Burke’s latest exhibit, Vanished Kingdoms: The Wulsin Photographs of Tibet, China, and Mongolia 1921-1925.


A huge fad in the 1800s, thousands of “Magic Lantern Shows” toured the country presenting travelogues, history, and storytelling. Members of the Seattle Chapter of the Magic Lantern Society will present some of these shows verbatim, using text and slides from the original presentations.


In addition to the shows, there will be vintage posters and reproductions of advertisements, fine art quality prints from Magic Lantern slides, landscapes and painted illustrations, as well as free advice on how to transfer your old photographs to digital format.


Shows are scheduled throughout the day and are free to Burke Museum members or with museum admission. Each show runs approx. 20 to 30 minutes. Visit the Burke museum Web site for details (www.burkemuseum.org).


Magic Lantern Day schedule:


10:30 a.m.- A short overview of lantern slides, tracing the evolution of the art form from Victorian Times to 1940. This presentation includes antique slides from the Douglass Light Company, a 1904 Seattle business, which sold lanterns and hand colored slides.


11 a.m. – “The American Civil War: Views of the Rebellion – Marching Thro’ Georgia – Bring the Jubilee!” Hand drawn and tinted slides accompanied by period music, trivia and facts about the great American conflict.


Noon – “A Lincoln Travelogue from Quebec to British Columbia in 1905″. A journey across Canada to the Pacific Northwest, Spokane and Seattle with Surrick Lincoln. The images are on hand-colored glass Magic Lantern transparencies seen through a 1914 Victor Stereopticon projector. The narration is from the original lecture.


1 p.m. – “Jack and the Bean Stalk” original hand- painted English slides.


1:30 p.m. – Rare lantern slides by Wilson A. Bentley (1865-1931 aka The Snowflake Man) who spent his life photographing over 5000 snow crystals.


2:30 p.m. – “Emblematic Lecture of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Fireman and Enginemen or, what Joshua Leach did after the Civil War” Includes part of the original “Ceremonies of Initiation” from the B of L. F. & E. 1919 lodge book, and was written specifically for this set of wood mounted lantern slides.