Magic Lantern Slide Heritage as Artefacts in the Common European History of Learning

A Million Pictures

A Million Pictures. Magic Lantern Slides in the History of Learning

The magic lantern was the most important visual entertainment and means of instruction across nineteenth-century Europe. However, despite its pervasiveness across multiple scientific, educational and popular contexts, magic lantern slides remain under-researched. The A Million Pictures project addresses the sustainable preservation of this massive, untapped heritage resource. The findings are compiled in the publication A Million Pictures. Magic Lantern Slides in the History of Learning, edited by Prof Frank Kessler (Media and Performance Studies) and Sarah Dellmann. 

Prof. dr. Frank Kessler. Foto: Ivar Pel
Prof. dr. Frank Kessler. Foto: Ivar Pel

Slides for the magic or optical lantern were a major tool for knowledge transfer in the second half of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Schools, universities, the church and many public and private institutions all over the world relied on the lantern for illustrated lectures and demonstrations.

Dr. Sarah Dellmann
Dr. Sarah Dellmann

Rich cultural heritage

This volume brings together scholarly research on the educational uses of the optical lantern in different disciplines by international specialists, representing the state of the art of magic lantern research today. In addition, it contains a “lab section” with contributions by archivists, curators and performers reflecting on ways to preserve, present and re-use this immensely rich cultural heritage today.