Welcome to the Magic Lantern Society

Formed in 1977 the Magic Lantern Society today enjoys a world-wide membership whose interests cover all forms of visual media and optical diversions right up into the 21st century and these interests are reflected in the Society's activities.

Our members are collectors, enthusiasts, students of film, visual media and popular culture, magicians, artists, performers, scientists and archival organisations from over 30 different countries.

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A party at Mr Lorraine's, Langside Hall


The only way to really appreciate the magic is to join the show at our quarterly meetings and world class international conventions.

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Purchase copies of our latest publications, browse our digitised journal issues and explore our full back catalogue.

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Optical media

Lantern History

An introduction to the world of the lantern from its origins to today with illustrations of lanterns, slides and accessories.

Delve right in

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Active Lanternists

Interested in putting on a lantern show but lack the equipment or expertise?

Browse our list of member lanternists to find a lanternist in your area

Find a lanternist

Did you know...?

We are very pleased to announce the winners of the Mervyn Heard and Dick Balzer awards.

Mervyn Heard Award

The 2020 Mervyn Heard Award goes jointly to Samuel Grosdemange for The Magic Lantern 3D Virtual Museum and Theater, a virtual exhibiton and theatre space and to Jeltsje Stobbe, Rosa Deen and Margriet van der Waal for their work in encouraging critical engagement with problematic lantern slide images and descriptions.

Dick Balzer Award

The 2020 Dick Balzer Award goes to Dawn Elliott and Joel Schlemowitz for their performance, Elliott and Schlemowitz's Phantasmagoria, inspired by the notorious showman Étienne-Gaspard Robertson.

Full details in The Magic Lantern, no. 25 December 2020.