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Gallery Talk: Unpacking a 120-Year-Old Zeiss Photographic Microscope

A wooden microscope case, a microscope, and various accessories arranged against a gray background.
Carl Zeiss Optische Werkstätte, Jena, German, Compound microscope, Model Ic, for photomicrography and projection, 1902. Brass, nickel, iron, glass, wood, leather, rubber. Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University, 1308.

Gallery Talk

Harvard Art Museums, 32 Quincy Street
Cambridge MA

Curator Sara Schechner, from Harvard’s Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, and Lynette Roth, curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, will team up to explore a 120-year-old Zeiss photographic microscope. The curators will look at the assemblage of its various parts and share with visitors what they tell us about how scientists work with such a microscope. Its diverse components, housed in a wooden case, reveal not only the technical challenges of taking photographs through a microscope lens, but also the instrument’s inherent social, cultural, and aesthetic connections.

Our galleries are full of stories—this series of talks gives visitors a chance to hear the best ones! The talks highlight new works on view, take a fresh look at old favorites, investigate artists’ materials and techniques, and reveal the latest discoveries by curators, conservators, fellows, visiting artists, technologists, and other contributors.

This talk is offered in conjunction with the exhibition White Shadows: Anneliese Hager and the Camera-less Photograph, on view at the Harvard Art Museums through July 31, 2022.

Led by:
Sara J. Schechner, David P. Wheatland Curator of the Collection of Historical Scientific Instruments, Harvard University

Lynette Roth, Daimler Curator of the Busch-Reisinger Museum, Harvard Art Museums

Gallery talks are limited to 18 people, and it is required that you reserve your place. At 10am the day of the event, reservations will open and may be arranged online through this form. The gallery talk reservation will also serve as your general museum reservation. If required, visitors will pay the museum admission fee upon arrival.

Please meet in the Calderwood Courtyard, in front of the digital screens between the shop and the admissions desk.

Please see the museum visit page to learn about our general policies for visiting the museums.

The Harvard Art Museums are committed to accessibility for all visitors. For anyone requiring accessibility accommodations for our programs, please contact us at at least 48 hours in advance.

Support for White Shadows was provided by the Daimler Curatorship of the Busch-Reisinger Museum Fund. Modern and contemporary art programs at the Harvard Art Museums are made possible in part by generous support from the Emily Rauh Pulitzer and Joseph Pulitzer, Jr., Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art.