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The Australian National University

Archive in the Spotlight

Archive in the Spotlight is an initiative where one of the team investigates a lantern slide series held in a public or personal collection around Australia. This process involves research into the series and, on occasion, an interview with a curator, librarian, or private custodian. 

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'A Universe in a box': The Expansive Lantern Slide Collection of Museums Victoria

Recently, Lead CI, Martyn Jolly spent an informative morning at Museums Victoria with Lorenzo Iozzi, Senior Collection Manager of Images for History and Technology. Of all the collecting institutions in Australia Museums Victoria is the furthest advanced in making its magic lantern collections available for research and engagement. They have over 11,000 slides in their History and Technology collection, 3,000 slides in their Natural Sciences collection, and 1,500 slides in their Indigenous Cultures collection. Their slide collections not only include thousands of regular square glass...

Illuminating the Heroic Endeavours of C.Y. O'Connor and other stories from the Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth

The Kerry Stokes Collection is a vast private archive, which includes a rich photographic collection generally and an impressive lantern slides specifically, that recalls unique aspects of Western Australia’s settlement and development. Collection curators, Emma-Clare Bussell and Erica Persak generously showed Chief Investigator, Jane Lydon and Research Fellow, Elisa deCourcy a sample of the collection. Lantern slides were central to disseminating the plans and displaying the mechanics behind Charles Yelverton O’Connor’s ambitious project to pump water from the Mundaring...

Anthropological Slides at The Queensland Museum

Recently, lead CI Martyn Jolly visited the Queensland Museum, where he explored the Museum’s lantern-slide collections with Karen Kindt, Assistant Collection Manager, Anthropology, and the Indigenous curator Michael Aird, Research Fellow, School of Social Science, University of Queensland. The Museum holds several major collections of slides related to science, religion, and anthropology. An example of the diversity of the Museum’s collections are the slides produced by Charles Joseph Pound, a Queensland microbiologist who identified tick-born ‘redwater fever’ amongst...

The antecedents to PowerPoint presentations: The slides of the Marks-Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History

Recently lead CI Martyn Jolly visited Dr James Nixon, curator at the Marks-Hirschfeld Museum of Medical History in the University of Queensland School of Medicine.  James looks after two significant sets of slides. The first collection comes from Dr John Bostock, and is an integrated set of teaching slides and index cards. The slides still have their original cross-referenced index cards, filed in their original index box, and were used for psychology lectures to medical students between 1945 and 1955. Although politically very conservative, educationally Bostock was very innovative. As...

Rouse Hill House and Generations of Lantern Slide Performances

Curator Dr Scott Hill knows scores of fascinating stories about the extraordinary collection of Rouse Hill House and Farm, one of the properties of Sydney Living Museums that is located between Parramatta and the towns of Windsor and Richmond in Sydney’s North-west.  But for Research Fellow Elisa deCourcy and Lead CI Martyn Jolly, one of the most exciting of his stories was the one about Dr John Buchanan Rouse Terry [b.1944], one of the sixth generation of the family to have lived at the house. As a boy in the 1950s he would take out the house’s antique magic lantern to give...

Corsets, Inter-war Australian Femininity and the National Film and Sound Archive's Remarkable Collection of Berlei Lantern Slides

The National Film and Sound Archive holds an extensive lantern slide collection ranging from cinema slides, used in theatre advertising, song slides, employed in public recitals, and some of Australia’s first locally manufactured slides, such as Soldiers of the Cross. Elisa deCourcy spoke with curator, Jenny Gall and paper conservator, Shingo Ishikawa about the processes involved in lantern slide restoration. We also discussed a multi-set collection of Berlei instructional slides that fit rather uniquely in their archive.  In 1910 Fred (Frederick) Berley bought the controlling...

Sydney Camera Circle, Methodist Missionaries and the National Art Archive's Lantern Slide Collection

In December 2016 the supremely knowledgeable Eric Riddler, who is Visual Resources Librarian at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, guided Elisa deCourcy and Martyn Jolly through two significant magic lantern slide collections in the National Art Archive, housed at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. One collection has been in the Gallery for many years, while the other has just recently been acquired.   The first collection came into the Gallery in the mid 1990s as part of a gift from the family of Henri Mallard, a member of the Sydney Camera Circle, who were an elite group of...

Updated: 18 February 2018/ Responsible Officer:  Head of Office / Page Contact:  Web Publisher