Classical Antiquity Lantern Slide Collection (Bryn Mawr College)

Parthenon; East Pediment; View of figure K, 447-438 BC, British Museum. Image and original data provided by Bryn Mawr College

The Visual Resources Center at Bryn Mawr College has contributed more than 300 images from their lantern slide collection on Classical Antiquity to the Artstor Digital Library.


With a collection of hundreds of thousands of slides and digital images, the VRC at Bryn Mawr supports the needs of several departments, including the History of Art, Archaeology, Classics, and Growth and Structure of Cities. Among its holdings is a collection of lantern slides focused on Classical Antiquity, dating from the late 19th to mid 20th century. Coverage extends across the Mediterranean world, from Southern Europe (Greece, Italy, Spain, France) to North Africa (Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia) and the Near East (Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria). In many cases, these lantern slides serve as valuable historical records, depicting monuments that have since been destroyed or damaged. Some slides record excavations or monuments in various stages of repair or restoration, providing unique visual documentation. Thus, these black-and-white images can offer viewers a historic perspective on well-known monuments.


Lantern slides played a vital role in the teaching of Art History and Architectural History by enabling the visual study of works and sites in remote locations. Slideshows became the preferred method of instruction for faculty in these fields. Widely used from the mid-19th century, lantern slides declined in popularity during the mid-20th century, with the advent of the 35 mm color slide. A desire to preserve these records and to re-purpose them for current technologies, led the Visual Resources Center to partner with the Center for the Study of Architecture (CSA) at Bryn Mawr. Through this collaboration, the collection of lantern slides was re-photographed for use in 35mm format,, as well as high-resolution digital images.