NCSSM Receives One-of-a-Kind 
Collection of Optical Toys

October 21, 1996


Durham On Wednesday, October 23rd, the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics (NCSSM) will display for its community a unique collection of optical toys and illusionary devices which date approximately from 1825 to 1905.  Dr. Ralph E. Wileman, Professor Emeritus of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill, collected the toys and devices, as well as the slides, films, and photos which can be shown on them, during the span of his career at UNC.  Dr. Wileman donated the collection, the largest and most varied of its kind in the southeastern U.S., last December to NCSSM.  The collection has been named the Laura Hayes Wileman and John Howard Wileman Collection in honor of Dr. Wileman's children.  

The toys and devices will be on display from 11 am to 3 pm in the School's Physical Education Center.  Dr. Wileman will be on hand to talk about the collection and to demonstrate the equipment.  The Laura Hayes Wileman and John Howard Wileman Collection includes stereo cards, tintypes, and magic lantern slides of all shapes, colors, sizes, and textures; magic lanterns, a polyorama, stereo viewers, a Chinese theater, zoetropes, and other viewing equipment; and a few modern reproductions of antique equipment.  The cards and slides were crafted by artisans from across the world and are a marvel of skill and imagination.  

The collection will eventually be housed in NCSSM's Educational Technology Complex, now under construction.  The equipment and slides will be used to demonstrate such concepts as persistence of vision, stereo vision, and the mechanics of moving pictures to the students at NCSSM.  It is also planned to have a touch screen video monitor available at the site of the collection that will show videos of Dr. Wileman demonstrating how the equipment works.

Contact:  Katie Wagstaff      
Telephone:  919-416-2866

The North Carolina School
of Science and Mathematics
P.O. Box 2418
1219 Broad Street
Durham, North Carolina  27715