Lantern Slides - Palisades Interstate Park Commission

Cover Image:
Lantern Slides - Palisades Interstate Park Commission
Tree Sparrow - Image Source

Collection Facts


Historical Context

The American Museum of Natural History was an early partner of the Palisades Interstate Park Commission (PIPC), providing scientific, historic, and other expertise as the Commission developed environmental education programs, public nature trails, group camping programs for children, and more. In 1927, the American Museum partnered with the PIPC to found Trailside Museums & Zoo, often call the Bear Mountain Zoo, as a field station and component of a larger regional network of outdoor nature museums to provide context and information to our tens of thousands of group campers.

In the late 1910’s and 1920s, the American Museum created glass lantern slides for PIPC. Lantern slides were, in a sense, the earliest form of PowerPoint. These slides have two glass plates, one that holds a negative image and a second protective cover. These are held together with tape and, in our case, hand-tinted to colorize them. These slides were accompanied by a written presentation to tell a specific educational story. The slides were held up to a light source (the lantern) which would “project” the image onto a surface similarly to our modern projector system.

Scope of Collection

This collection contains glass lantern slides created by the American Museum of Natural History in the late 1910s and 1920s. It includes images of the park and visitors, as well as local plants and wildlife (particularly birds). There are also many ink drawings of historical figures and scenes relating to the American Revolution.