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MOA opens historical photo exhibit

Megan Paz, MOA

Megan Paz

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By Megan Paz
Museum of the Albemarle

Monday, June 17, 2019

Our newest exhibit, “Look Again: Discovering Historical Photos” is now open to the public.

There are over 35 photographs on display that are part of a traveling exhibit from the North Carolina Museum of History located in Raleigh. Two cases of artifacts including ambrotypes, daguerreotypes, and tintypes come from MOA’s collection.

I believe that taking photographs is a great way to capture and preserve that special moment in your life at a specific time. Photographs are framed windows that you can always look back through to remember cherished memories; whether it was your granddaughter’s first birthday or the day she got her first puppy, there are so many reasons why one should take a picture. Now you may ask yourself: “Why should we look at old photographs, to learn about the past or to find parallels with the present?”

The exhibit states: “In the mid-1800s, the ability to take photographs added visual precision to the way we chronicle our human existence. Photography forever changed the way we record and remember our individual lives — and our history. Photos offer a unique view into the past and allow us to learn more about the lives of North Carolinians.”

Interestingly, photos are not the only thing that we have displayed in the Look Again: Discovering Historical Photos exhibit. Also displayed are antique cameras dating back as far as the late 1800s, from the Museum of the Albemarle’s collection. To name a few: a circa 1930 Rochester optical standard camera with a Swiss E Suter Basel Aplanat No. 4 lens used by William H. Zoeller who operated a photography studio in Elizabeth City from 1892 to the 1930s. Other cameras include: a Blair camera company camera, patent date 1887 with a carrying box that allowed a room for storage of dry plates; No. 1a autographic Kodak Jr. camera, patent date 1913; No. 2 Kodak brownie camera, ca. 1923; Roamer universal camera, ca. 1948 “For Pictures that Click, click a Universal” slogan; a Graflex 22 85mm camera, ca. 1950 with a Graphex synchromatic shutter; a 1957 Polaroid speedliner land camera touted as the “only camera in the world that develops its own pictures.” And a Polaroid Sun 660 camera, ca. 1981 that belonged to Museum of the Albemarle and used for numerous years to take photographs of incoming acquisitions.

One of my favorite photographs on display is “Two Unidentified Girls.” The photograph was taken by Elizabeth City photographer William H. Zoeller in the late 1920s–early 1930s.

So if you happen to be in the area, or if you have lived here for several years and the thought of discovering some of our old historical photographs sparks your interest, do not hesitate to stop by and browse around our Look Again: Discovering Historical Photos exhibit through Oct. 5.

Megan Paz is a Public Information Specialist at Museum of the Albemarle.

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