Image of Lantern Slides from MIT's Faculty Lantern Slides from MIT's Faculty
Classroom Images of Science and Technology

You walk into the lecture hall and find a seat. The professor dims the lights to project slides illustrating the day’s lesson. Today, the slides are probably computer images; a few decades ago, they would have been 35mm slide carousels or overhead transparencies; years before that the professor would have carried in a heavy wooden box of glass lantern slides. In our color-saturated world, it is hard to remember that, the images of science and technology in the first half of the 20th century were black and white. Whether illustrating basic principles or cutting-edge research, these 31⁄4 x 4-inch glass “sandwiches” were crucial to instruction at MIT. It took dedicated staff at MIT’s Graphic Arts Office to keep up with the demand for new slides. As departmental collections grew into the thousands, more people were hired to create card catalogs, prepare slides for each class, and after- ward return them to files. The original slides displayed illustrate the academic, professional, and research work from many departments and disciplines; museum visitors were surprised to discover several of them featured other artifacts in the exhibition.

Lantern Slides
MIT Faculty and Staff

photo: Michael Cardinali for MIT Museum

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