Preserving/Documenting Lantern Slides: How do I not ruin them?
April 28, 2011 8:27 AM Subscribe
My family has a collection of 35 lantern slides dating from the 1880-90's. They are black & white photographic images, with some handcolored. They are in reasonably good condition and I would like to somehow transfer them into a digital format. Is it OK to lay these on a scanner, or will strong light exposure risk damaging the slide images? Is there a better way to photograph or reproduce the images?
posted by amusebuche to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Also, the slides are fairly clean, but some have a faint patina of what looks like mold on the surface of the glass. Is it safe to clean them? I haven't taken any of the slides apart, but they seem to be constructed by fitting two pieces of glass together. I assume the image is fixed on the internal side and therefore it would be OK to wipe the outside with a damp cloth. Note, I have found some references
on the internets indicating that this is OK, but I've also observed that lantern slides were an evolving technology from 1850 to 1950, and so the same recommendations might not apply to all slides.
The slide images were taken/assembled in India by my great grandparents, who were German missionaries there. Apparently my great grandfather used the slides to accompany lectures he did later in Germany and US about Indian culture and religion. I have an accompanying list of notes that he used for his presentation. Example
Bonus: If I can somehow manage to transfer the images into a digital format, I would not mind donating the slides to a museum or research institution. Any ideas on who might be interested in such an acquisition?