Exhibits at the Norwalk Historical Society Museum

Self and the World: Experiencing Photography in 19th Century Norwalk

Curated by Elizabeth Avery • Exhibit Design by Scott Kuykendall

This exhibit explores how everyday Norwalkers used and experienced photography in the second half of the 19th century, beginning with the daguerreotype invented in 1839 through the rise of amateur photography around the turn of the 20th century.  

Although this history is not unique to Norwalk, the exhibit will tell the story of early photography through images of Norwalk residents and objects owned by Norwalkers. View never before seen daguerreotypes, family portraits, cartes de visite photographs, glass plate negatives and an original early Kodak camera, which help tell the story of the early age of photography and its influence on the people of Norwalk.  Also on display are 19th century stereoscopes (stereo viewers) which were a popular form of American entertainment in the 1800s and 1900s.

Visitors will have an opportunity to touch and view stereocards through a modern 21st century stereoscope.  The role of the photographer is also celebrated, which includes female amateur photographer Ada Betts, African-American photographer Augustus Washington and American Civil War photographer Edward Tompkins Whitney.

Three women at Roton Point Amusement Park, Norwalk, CT | Tintype | NM 05.93.63 Norwalk Public Library History Room

The Norwalk Historical Society Museum is located at 141 East Avenue, Norwalk, and is open Wednesday-Saturday, Noon-4pm, and during special events and by appointment for Self-Guided Tours. Enter from Norwalk City Hall parking area. The Museum is in the red brick house with blue double front doors.

For more information on how to book a self-guided tour, please visit the NHS Event Calendar page.