"Through Daniel's Eyes" Exhibit Opens

Posted: April 3, 2016

Photographs have the power to stir emotions, trigger memories, and communicate on a very personal level. The new original exhibit Through Daniel's Eyes features select photographs from a rich collection of glass plate negatives taken by amateur photographer Daniel Bastian Nelson between 1898 and 1919. With this exhibit, the Eau Claire world as Nelson saw it is accessible to a modern audience for the first time.

Nelson purchased a portable Magazine Cyclone 3 camera in 1898. Over the next twenty-one years, he captured details and candid expressions of everyday life with great clarity. Like all amateur photographers, he took photos of whatever caught his fancy-from friends playing stick ball, to buildings in his west side neighborhood and children playing in calm floodwaters. Through Daniel's Eyes draws visitors into early 20th century Eau Claire and helps connect the past and present.

Images for the exhibit were drawn from a collection of 415 glass plate negatives, which was recently donated to the UW-Eau Claire McIntyre Library Special Collections and Archives. Students enrolled in the Seminar in Public History at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire developed the exhibit with guidance from course instructor Dr. John Mann, UW-Eau Claire University Archivist Greg Kocken, and Chippewa Valley Museum staff.

"The prints produced from the glass plate negatives are strikingly clear and detailed," CVM Director Carrie Ronnander notes, "but I think the real beauty of the exhibit is its ability to take us into the world of everyday people. I really like how the students used the photos to launch into larger stories about what Eau Claire was like in the early 20th century."

The exhibit opens Saturday, May 14, 2016 at the Chippewa Valley Museum in Eau Claire's scenic Carson Park. In November, the exhibit will travel to the UW-Eau Claire as part of its 100th anniversary celebration. It will finish its travels at the Children's Museum of Eau Claire.

The Chippewa Valley Museum is open during the school year 1-8 pm on Tuesdays, 1-5 pm Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 am - 5 pm on Saturdays, and 1-5 pm on Sundays. Admission is $7 for adults, $4 for kids ages 5-17, and free for kids under 5 and museum members. Admission is always free Tuesday evenings from 5-8 pm.

This project was made possible by support from Sharp Photo & Portrait and is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Wisconsin Humanities Council supports and creates programs that use history, culture, and discussion to strengthen community life for everyone in Wisconsin.

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