When: Mondays, Wednesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Tuesdays, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Continues through Jan. 21 2019
In our day and age, stereographs are most often spotted at antique stores or flea markets, but they were once widespread collectibles that offered viewers easy escapes long before the arrival of movies and television. Arriving on the scene in the 1800s, when practical photography was still in its adolescence, stereographs captured imaginations all over the world with a fairly simple format: Nearly identical photographs — shot from slightly different angles in order to mimic the left-eye/right-eye orientation of human sight — were mounted side-by-side on rectangular cards designed to be viewed through a device that essentially tricks the eyes into fusing the two images into a three-dimensional scene. Although it wasn’t the first viewing apparatus for stereographs, Oliver Wendell Holmes created the affordable, accessible, hand-held “stereoscope” that brought the experience into the mainstream. Collected as keepsakes depicting landmarks, exotic locales and personalities of the era, stereographs now populate archives held by the likes of the Library of Congress (which boasts a stockpile of roughly 52,000) and San Antonio’s own Briscoe Museum of Western Art. Comprising 578 examples, the Briscoe’s collection comes to light this fall in “Destino San Antonio.” Curated by local artist Anne Wallace, the exhibition paints a historical portrait of the Alamo City through 80 stereographs (to be seen with 3D viewers) depicting everything from San Pedro Springs, Military Plaza and San Fernando Cathedral in the 1870s to Mexican women selling caged birds and “happy childhood in festive array” at an elaborate parade in 1905.