Illuminating Art History: Kress Foundation Digital Art History Grant

The Media Center for Art History is delighted to announce that it is the recipient of a two-year Digital Art History grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation for the digitization and online dissemination of the Columbia University Department of Art History and Archaeology’s Lantern Slide Collection. The collection contains approximately 77,000 glass lantern slides collected by the department starting in the early 20th century. An important image resource, the collection offers a glimpse into the early years of the department, not only containing rare photographs of art, architecture, and archaeological sites, but providing direct evidence of art historical teaching and research during the early 20th century, as well as archival evidence in the historiography of art history and the history of pedagogy.

The lantern slide collection is currently underutilized due to a lack of accessibility. A full catalog of the collection does not exist and the slides’ cumbersome format hinders discovery. Upon the completion of digitization, images will be incorporated into the Media Center’s image database (MCID) and will be searchable by keyword and easily accessible, with high-quality downloadable versions and a full catalog. This ease of use will hopefully once again make the lantern slide collection a valuable resource to researchers at Columbia and beyond.