3-D Exhibit at Gettysburg Visitor's Center
A 50-inch plasma television monitor mounted on the wall next to the book store at the new Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center presents the magic of 3D Civil War photography to park visitors in a four-minute show entitled “Gettysburg in 3D.”
The exhibit, which has been turning heads and drawing people in since the center opened on April 14, was produced by The Center for Civil War Photography and installed at the new visitor center in collaboration with the Gettysburg Foundation.
The show runs on a continuous loop and presents seven stereographs taken by Alexander Gardner and his associates, 13 views taken by M. B. Brady and a modern view of McPherson’s Barn taken by CCWP board member John Richter, who created and assembled the presentation.
The dramatic battlefield images are presented in the anaglyph format of 3D, in which the two halves of the original photograph have red and cyan overlays and are reproduced as a double image with a slight offset. Patrons view the images in 3D using a pair of red-cyan 3D paper glasses provided by the Foundation. The glasses are available below the monitor.
“The 3-D presentation has been very well received,” said Sue Boardman, the Foundation’s Museum Coordinator. “It’s near the group lobby, which means the school groups that collect there spot it and head that way immediately. We hear a lot of ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ when they begin to realize what they are seeing. And it isn’t just kids. A lot of adults stand through the entire loop. We think it’s a big hit.”
The plasma monitor, also provided by the Gettysburg Foundation, is mounted on a wall between two entrances to the book store. The show has no sound, but does have a caption for each image.
“I start with the Gardner images, then show the Bradys, and finish with a then-and-now pair of Brady’s view of McPherson’s Barn, which dissolves into the modern view of the same area,.” Richter said. “After the closing credits, the screen fades to black for three seconds, and then the show starts over.”
“This is a digital show all the way through.” Richter said. “The images from the Library of Congress’s digitized negatives have been cleaned and restored. The stereo halves have been properly aligned, made into anaglyphs and assembled into a slide show. An executable file was made from that and loaded onto a computer in the visitor center’s control room. A computer runs the show, not a DVD player. That way, the quality of the anaglyphs could be maintained throughout the process.” This is the first time in the history of the Gettysburg National Military Park that the historic battlefield photos by Gardner and Brady have been featured in a permanent 3D exhibit at Gettysburg National Military Park.
“The stereoviews haven't looked this good since they were issued,” Richter added. “Actually, they're aligned better now than they were then!”
The new $103 million Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center is located at 1195 Baltimore Pike in Gettysburg, between the pike and Taneytown Road. Regular center hours are from 8 A.M. to 6 P.M. Summer hours, from June 1 to September 1, are 8 A.M. to 7 P.M.