150 years of the magic lantern

Join us and discover one of the earliest surviving magic lanterns provenanced to an Australian household. Commonly used for entertainment, the magic lantern projects images and was popular during the 19th century throughout Europe.  

Lanterns and slides were advertised for sale in the Australian colonies from the early 19th century.  Among the many fascinating items found at Rouse Hill House is a Newton and Co. magic lantern and various types of magic lantern illustrated slides.

Members will have the opportunity to view the original magic lantern and see a selection of handpainted slides, alongside the published books that provided the image sources. Curator Holly Schulte and Head of Collections & Access Megan Martin will discuss recent research discoveries and the digitisation process which has allowed us to tell the 150 year story of the collection being performed as entertainment in the house and for visitors today.

Dating from around 1860, the Rouse Hill House lantern and slides were used by successive generations of the Rouse and Terry families. As a child, Dr John Buchanan Rouse Terry, a sixth generation member the Rouse family and a musician and composer, found himself fascinated by this antique technology. He included the magic lantern in a series of experimental public multimedia performances during the late 1960s. Members will have the opportunity to see recovered footage of a 1998 event where Dr Terry recreates his psychedelic music performances.

Holly Schulte, Curator of Digital Assets at Sydney Living Museums, recently presented new research in a paper titled ‘150 years of the magic lantern at Rouse Hill House’ at a conference on ‘The Magic Lantern in Australia and the world’. The conference, held in Canberra and organised by ANU and National Film and Sound Archive, brought together more than 30 speakers from across Australia and from Europe, the US and New Zealand. Holly explored the family’s intergenerational engagement with magic lantern technology at Rouse Hill House between the 1860s and the 1990s, and how digitisation has allowed SLM to continue the presentation of the collection for visitors today

Please note that this event will take place at the Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection, The Mint.

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Member: $5

Member Guest: $15

General: $15


When & Where

Thursday 15 November 2018 11AM–12PM

Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection

The Mint, 10 Macquarie Street Sydney NSW 2000
61 2 8239 2233

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