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Magic Lantern Show

Friday, 22 February 2019

Join Professor Ignatius Rumsby at The Novium Museum this February half term as he presents his Grand Magic Lantern Show.

Moving pictures before movies began - the show will consist of comic tales, childrens stories, moral tales and more.

Shows at 12:00, 13:30 and 15:00.  

This event is free to attend, but booking in advance is essential. Click here to book your tickets now

 

 

Developed in the 17th Century, magic lanterns were an excellent way to evoke both fear and delight from audiences. Often people brought back images from their travels on glass photographic plates. These could then be projected onto walls in the home.

Magic lanterns were the precurser to modern day projectors and a direct influence on moving motion pictures, developed in the 17th Century. Images would be painted, or in later usage printed, onto glass slides and a bright light shone through. This would project the image onto the wall. Many of these early lanterns used candles or oil lamps to create the light, but the light was dim and the open flame dangerous, The invention of electricity meant that lanterns were brighter and much safer to use.

Magic lanterns were used for a variety of different purposes. Entertainers would travel the country and perform shows with travelling circuses, in theatres and exhibitions. Over time they became more readily available and people began to have shows at home, even using them for teaching and training.

Slides would depict a range of different topics including children's stories, moral tales, pictures of places around the world as well as local images, and even botanical diagrams.  The Novium Museum's own collection is very varied, consisting of slides depicting famous landmarks, children's tales such as Mother Hubbard, Aladdin and Cinderalla, as well as fascinating local events.