Magic lantern body and lens, circa 1857. [composite image] . Rouse Hill House & Farm Collection, Sydney Living Museums. Photo © Jamie North

Animated comic sliders for magic lantern

The magic lantern was a popular entertainment technology in the 19th century used to project stories and comic scenes.

The images used in this video were digitised and animated from the original hand-painted glass slides held in the Rouse Hill House Collection. Since the 1860s they have entertained many generations in the house!

A digital performance of the comic slides was shown at Rouse Hill House & Farm during the Family Fair 2018.

Visitors, especially young children, found the large scale wall projections hilarious, watching them over and over again. Perhaps in much the same way as Rouse family members would have enjoyed the original sperm whale oil lantern projections in the 1860s.

The original magic lantern was last used to project a performance in the Arcade at Rouse Hill House twenty years ago. In 1998, under the direction of the curator Lynn Collins, Dr John Terry, a sixth generation member the Rouse family and a musician and composer, re-enacted an experimental multimedia event featuring the magic lantern and slides that he had first created in the late 1960s.

About the authors

Head and shoulders photo of woman holding up card to face with conservator's white glove on hand.

Megan Martin

Former Head, Collections & Access

Megan is the former head of Collections & Access at Sydney Living Museums. She has a particular interest in the working of the historical imagination, in teasing out the meanings of objects in museums collections and in crafting the stories that can be recovered/discovered through a close reading of those items of material culture.

Portrait of woman against background of prickly pear foliage.

Holly Schulte

Curator Digital Assets

Holly is the Curator Digital Assets with Sydney Living Museums where she is part of the Collections & Access team.