Categories
Art Curatorial Library/Archives

From the Beautiful Box: Tarbell and Hand-Painted Glass Slides

Edmund Charles Tarbell, Three Sisters - A Study in June Sunlight, 1890. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears. Photo credit Efraim Lev-er.
Edmund Charles Tarbell, Three Sisters - A Study in June Sunlight, 1890. Oil on canvas. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Montgomery Sears. Photo credit Efraim Lev-er.

In my last blog post, I shared with you the secrets of a lovely wooden box which contained a collection of glass lantern slides from about 1920.  While most of the slides are black and white, a few colorful slides rest as jewels among them.

In the early 20th century, photography was principally a black and white experience.  Color photography, an experimental practice at best, was not a terribly viable practice for mass consumers/audiences until the 1940s.

Categories
Behind the Scenes Library/Archives

Beautiful boxes often hold beautiful things…

Wood lantern slide box with brass pull and glass lantern slides, early 20th century. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives.
Wood lantern slide box with brass pull and glass lantern slides, early 20th century. Milwaukee Art Museum, Institutional Archives.

I’ve always felt that beautiful boxes should hold beautiful things, and that is the case for one small, graceful box stored in the Audio Visual Library at the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Made of a dark, lustrous wood and elegant enough to be exhibited on its own, the box immediately caught my eye when I first came upon it.  With a squeal of excitement, I gently pulled off the lid and inside was a small collection of lovely glass lantern slides.  The box and lantern slides spoke instantly of a century past when traveling slides shows were essential to a museum’s exhibition program.