Neighbor Dick Balzer has cordially invited HSHA members to view one of the truly amazing hidden treasures of our neighborhood — this Sunday October 26 from 11-2. The converted carriage house behind 92 High Street holds his world-class collection of vintage visual devices — zoetropes, magic lanterns, vue d’optiques and more.
“Nearly five hundred years ago European collectors arranged their pieces in cabinets of curiosities(Wunderkabinette) in an attempt to display their rare pieces. As collections grew, the more ambitious set aside rooms called Wunderkammern (Rooms of Wonder) for visitors to come and view their collections. These were the first museums. Today, the internet allows the possibility of visiting museums without leaving one’s home, and similarly, the possibility of constructing a virtual Wunderkabinett — my cabinet of curiosities.
“What sort of curiosities will you find? I have been collecting for more than thirty years, and my collecting wanders around the theme of visual entertainment, and almost all of the collection dates from before 1900. Over time you will find magic lanterns, peepshows, shadows, transparencies, thaumatropes, phenakistascopes and a variety of other optical toys. You may find things that seem odd in this collection, however, always remember that collecting is a very personal thing and these items may stretch the boundaries of visual entertainment but nevertheless have found a place in my collection. “