Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman will showcase century-old stereoviews of iconic Egyptian landscapes in a unique 3-D presentation set for 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 22, at the Maine State Museum, 230 State St., Augusta.

Those who attend will be guided through the landscapes and temples of Egypt with an Egyptologist and historian.

Egypt is an exotic place, a place where mummies, temples and the landscape are almost surreal. Those who have traveled to Egypt have experienced its awe. Still, for many, Egypt is on the list of places to explore; a distant and enchanting land full of mysteries and more to uncover.

For thousands of years, Egypt has attracted explorers and adventurers who have traveled to experience its wonders with their own eyes. For a generation or two after the invention of photography in 1839 a few bold, pioneering photographers carried cumbersome equipment to Egypt. They took pictures of tombs and temples, natives and mummies, and the large and threatening crocodiles. The photographers brought these images back to Europe and the U.S., to be enjoyed in gas-lit parlors by armchair voyagers unable to make the long and expensive, and at times, dangerous journey before the days of travel agencies and tourist hotels. Most of these Egyptian photographs were taken in the form of stereoviews, the main commercial method of the day for distributing photographic views to a wide public. Stereoviews, produced on cards, or on glass for luxury examples, have two photographic images that allow the viewer to see 3-D images when observed through 3-D viewing glasses.

Those who attend will be supplied with complimentary 3-D viewing glasses as Fishman narrates and presents more than 60 images of Egypt’s most notable and iconic temples and landscapes.

In the early 1980s, Fishman worked for the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago, where he spent three years in Luxor, Egypt, working as an archaeologist and as an epigrapher (a specialist in ancient inscriptions). Fishman may have long since left Egypt, but Egypt has never left him, and one of the ways he has sustained his connection with that ancient civilization has been by amassing one of the largest collections of early photographs of Egypt in private hands.

For more information, call the Friends of the Maine State Museum at 287-2304.

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