Learn about early photographic portraits and Connecticut female photographers

During March, The Barnum Museum is offering programs to help us understand the history of early photography and how to identify the techniques and other clues that help us date old photographs of our ancestors. Please be advised to check the museum’s website barnum-museum.org

or Facebook should weather concerns arise. Snow dates for each program will be posted on the website.

Wednesday, March 5 at 12:15 p.m.Sneak Peek Portraits of the Past: Identifying and Dating Photographs of Ancestors, presented by the Museum’s curator, Adrienne Saint-Pierre. This continuing series offers opportunities to see rarely-exhibited items from the Museum’s collection. Attendees are invited to bring their lunch. $2 Donation.

This month the focus will be on early photographs, such as daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and albumen prints. Saint-Pierre will give an overview of photography from the 1840s to the early 1900s, showing examples of the different methods employed.  Melissa Houston, Museum registrar, and Saint-Pierre will point out clues that help determine the date of a photograph, including its format and the clothing fashions and hairstyles of the subject. Attendees are welcome to bring a photograph of an ancestor (pre-“snapshot” era), and staff will help establish the date or date range.

Woman in Kimono , Photo by Harriet V. S. Thorne, ca. 1900

Sunday, March 9 at 2 p.m.– In celebration of Women’s History Month, The Barnum Museum will offer a program Through a Different Lens: 19th Century Women Photographers in Connecticut. The illustrated talk will be presented by Tasha Caswell, and will feature Bridgeport photographer Harriet V.S. Thorne. Thorne is one of the three women photographers in the Connecticut Historical Society’s current exhibition, Through a Different Lens. $5 Donation.

In the late nineteenth century, a time when it was rare for a woman to be a photographer, Thorne had a studio and darkroom in the Black Rock area of Bridgeport. The intimate portraits she made of her wealthy family and friends depict a Gilded Age lifestyle that is long gone. She was full of surprises, too. Among her carefully posed portraits there are images that capture spontaneous moments, as well as photographs of African-Americans and members of the Seminole tribe in Florida.

Tasha Caswell, Curator of the Connecticut Historical Society exhibition, is a Graphics Cataloger and Project Researcher at the CHS. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Photographic Preservation and Collections Management from Ryerson University. In addition to speaking about Thorne, Caswell will relate the stories of two other Connecticut women photographers featured in the show, Marie Kendall and Rosalie Thorne McKenna. She will discuss why it was unusual for women to practice photography in the 1800s, and how things changed throughout twentieth century as sociological, cultural and technological advances were made.

Through a Different Lens is on view at the Connecticut Historical Society in Hartford until March 29, 2014. The CHS is located at One Elizabeth Street in Hartford, Conn and the galleries are open Tuesday-Friday: noon – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Information about admissions, directions, parking and groups is available at http://chs.org/page.php?id=498

.WHAT: The Barnum Museum’s March programs

WHEN: Various see above. All events are free for museum members

WHERE: The Barnum Museum, 820 Main Street, Bridgeport in the People’s United Bank Gallery, entry located at the back of the historic building

COST: Various see above, however Barnum Museum members are always free

Call for more information 203-331-1104 ext.100, M-F from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

By Alex

Leave a Reply