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‘Magic lantern’ show set for Chester library on August 15

Glens Falls artist Russell Serrianne inspects several of his antique ‘Magic Lanterns’ recently. Serrianne has presented Magic Lantern shows for decades to acquaint people with these pre-electricity devices for projecting visual media. His next presentation is set for 7 p.m. Thursday Aug. 15 in the town of Chester Library, Chester Municipal Center, Chestertown.

Glens Falls artist Russell Serrianne inspects several of his antique ‘Magic Lanterns’ recently. Serrianne has presented Magic Lantern shows for decades to acquaint people with these pre-electricity devices for projecting visual media. His next presentation is set for 7 p.m. Thursday Aug. 15 in the town of Chester Library, Chester Municipal Center, Chestertown. Photo provided

— The public will experience first-hand what visual media was like a century ago, as Russell Serrianne presents his “Magic Lantern Show” at 7 p.m. Thursday Aug. 15 in the Town of Chester Library.

The presentation is a review of pre-electricity projected family and social entertainment. The antique magic lantern slides used in the program are hand-painted on glass and were originally projected using oil or kerosene lanterns as a light source. The images include humorous subjects, historical events and a few surprises. Moveable (pre-animation) slides with dazzling colors depict ships sailing, a turning windmill, buzzing bees and more.

Imagining a life with without movies, television and electronic media may be difficult for many in the modern era, but the Magic Lantern is evidence of the creative and colorful world of pre-cinema entertainment.

The show will include a display of various sizes and styles of Victorian-era magic lanterns.

After the free presentation, sponsored by the Friends of Chester Library, there will be an opportunity to examine some of the devices. Refreshments follow. The library is located at the Town of Chester Municipal Center on Main St. in Chestertown.

An accomplished visual artist from Glens Falls, Russell Serrianne has presented Magic Lantern lectures and shows for more than 20 years. He is also curator of collections and exhibits at the World Awareness Children’s Museum.

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