Artifact of the Month: Holmes Stereoscope

Our October Artifact of the Month serves as an important reminder: Hollywood dazzle aside, the impulse to turn a two-dimensional image into a three-dimensional experience is nothing new.

Holmes Stereoscope

The artifact in question, a 19th-century stereoscope, comes from the collection of the NCC Photographic Archives. The stereoscope gives the illusion of depth to a side-by-side pair of flat images, which, when viewed through the device, appear as one 3D image.

This model, the Holmes Stereoscope — invented by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr — was the most popular stereoscope in the 19th century.

Get the 3D experience in person

From now through February 2, you can view a selection of stereographic images from the Photographic Archives in the exhibit “Southern Scenery in 3D: 19th-Century Stereographic Photography.” The exhibit in the NCC Gallery includes scenes made by Rufus Morgan, father of noted North Carolina photographer Bayard Wootten, and offers a glimpse of stereographic scenes of the Wilmington waterfront and western North Carolina.

In conjunction with the exhibit, Wilson Library will host the event “North Carolina Through Student Eyes,” where student recipients of the 2012 and 2013 North Carolina Documentary Photography Award will present their projects.

For details on visiting Wilson Library, including hours, parking, and directions, see the Library’s hours and directions page.

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