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Projecting Illusions

JANUARY 31, 2020 – APRIL 12, 2020


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In case you have not already, come to the Whyte Museum and see Projecting Illusions! Projecting Illusions reinterprets the spectacle of the magic lantern show through new media presentation and offers a fresh look at the narratives constructed by individuals that experienced mountain ranges in Western Canada.


Projecting Illusions, January 31, 2020 – April 12, 2020

Developed in the 17th century, the first lantern slides were hand painted on glass. By the 19th century, lantern slides were produced through printing and photographic processes to create positive transparencies. Lantern slides were fed through an early optical projector called a magic lantern, that used a light source (candles, oil lamps, and then electric light bulbs) to project the transparent slide image onto a large surface. Magic lantern shows informed, entertained, mobilized and educated large audiences – a medium for the masses that anyone could view. For more information on lantern slides check out Kate Riordon’s digital exhibit.



Yes, you can even pick some of them up!

Mount Logan Expedition Lantern Slides, 1925, Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, Alpine Club of Canada fonds, (V14/ACOP/813/PS-1 to PS-254)

Today, lantern slides can be found stored in boxes held in archival collections. Projection is restricted to protect the light sensitive transparencies. Here at the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies, lantern slides in our archival collection are digitized to facilitate greater access while ensuring preservation. All images in Projecting Illusions are copies of lantern slides held in our collection (to view lantern slides on our online database click here). Through digitization and re-creation, the original excitement of the magic lantern show is re-imagined, while revealing the distinctive analogue quality of lantern slides as material artifacts.


Projecting Illusions is on until April 12, 2020.


Back to The Cairn

111 Bear Street, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1A3, Canada

T: 1 403 762 2291   

E: info [at] whyte.org

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The Whyte Museum gratefully acknowledges the support of The Peter and Catharine Whyte Foundation and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts

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