The exhibition takes one on a journey of discovery through the history and development of machines that were based on the visual principles which still underlie our own cartoons and 3-D images. Thanks to its specific mix of art and science, the Museum takes us into a fascinating world that is both a part of history and part of our own present.
Alongside the projectors of various types, the collection has sections with thousands of images that were used in animation; these even include hand-painted glass slides that date from the mid-eighteenth century and hand-coloured photographs. There are also: some of the old musical instruments used in providing an accompaniment to projected images; a Javanese Shadow Theatre dating from the end of the nineteenth century; a reconstruction of the camera obscura used by Canaletto. Visitors can also see optical viewers and magic lanterns at work. These range from such simple playful instruments as the thaumatrope to more sophisticated equipment, such as the zoetrope, and toy lanterns made out of enamelled tin.
Some of the faithful reconstructions of old viewing machines are available for visitors to use, providing a real sense of what it was like watching these early forms of projected images. There is also a fascinating video which recounts the history of what amounts to the Archaeology of Cinema.