British photographic history

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Lecture: Magic Lanterns: or, a story of magic, science and the enchantment of objects / 5 December

Originally developed over 300 years ago, and widely used until the mid-twentieth century, magic lanterns were a spectacular tool of science. From Augustan coffeehouses and university lecture theatres to school classrooms and factory floors, magic lanterns were used to inform, educate and entertain.

In the final lecture of our series, members of the museum team will put some magic into the history and philosophy of science as they explore the history of magic lanterns and our museum collection. Laura, Paul, Polina and Mike will examine how these instruments worked, how they were used in communicating science to a variety of audiences, how they (and Yorkshire!) played a part in the growth of social campaigning and the birth of modern cinema, and how objects like these can be used to uncover and publicise histories that other sources can’t.

Please join us to celebrate the culmination of our two-year series. As usual, the lecture is open to all – for all backgrounds and ages with no prior knowledge assumed – and will be recorded and made available for download after the event. Tea & coffee will be served beforehand from 6:15, and after the lecture there will be a chance to see just what can be done with magic lanterns and slides over a celebratory drink!

You can register for the event for free at

'History & Philosophy of Science in 20 Objects', hosted by the Museum of History of Science, Technology and Medicine at the University of Leeds. Tuesday 5 December at 6:30pm in the Rupert Beckett Lecture Theatre.

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