Michigan in 3D


No. 5 Folding Kodak Improved
"satchel" Stereo camera, courtesy

Photography has been around since the 1830's. It was just a short decade later in the 1840's that photographers began experimenting with with stereo photography. The technique involves taking two images of the same scene from slightly different angles, simulating how the human eyes view a scene. When viewed through special glasses, the brain is able to process this information into depth and dimension.

From the 1860's until the 1920's, stereo photography was immensely popular and served multiple purposes in the form of education, entertainment and virtual travel. Until supplanted by new media, such as moving pictures and radio, stereo photographs remained a dominant way for people to explore the world without having to leave home.


This Michigan in 3D exhibit allows the viewer to see a selection of stereo photographs from Michigan and the Great Lakes region. These original stereographic cards have been transformed in a way that will allow the viewer to experience the images in three dimensions as originally intended. All that is needed is an inexpensive pair of red/blue glasses. You can request a free pair from the Civil War Trust.


3d view
View the 3d Images
View the original stereoscopic cards

Further information:

1. Darrah, William. The World of Stereographs. Gettysburg, PA: Darrah, 1977.

2. A Brief History of Stereographs and Stereoscopes

3. stereographer.com