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Lantern Slides

To expand the Museum’s educational mission beyond its walls, a lantern slide lending library was created and formed the basis of the Natural Science Study Collections which the Museum delivered to New York schools. The lantern slides, reproduced from the growing collection of photographs created and collected by the Museum staff, were originally used to illustrate lectures given to the public at the Museum. The lectures were so successful that a new and larger theater was constructed in 1900 to accommodate the growing crowds.

The hand-colored lantern slides shown in this collection range in topic from scenes in the Museum to newly arrived families at Ellis Island - offering a view into the history of science as well as the history of New York City. These beautifully colored images detail the art behind this fascinating photographic process and showcase for future generations science and culture from over a century ago.

View all items in the Lantern Slides Collection