The David Livingstone Trust has thanked generous supporters after a crowdfunder raised a whopping £1,141 in just under two months to buy a rare ‘magic lantern’ slide.
The artefact – which shows the legendary Scottish explorer and missionary preaching the biblical story of Abraham and Isaac in Africa – will go on display in the Trust’s new museum which is currently under construction as part of the much-anticipated Birthplace Project in Blantyre, Lanarkshire.
The crowdfunder was the brainchild of interns Lucy Brayson from Wishaw and Charlotte Roberts from Dennistoun, who joined the David Livingstone Birthplace Project team last year as part of the MGS Skills for Success programme which looks to address the lack of accessible entry routes into museum jobs for non-university graduates.
Natalie Milor, Curator, David Livingstone Trust, said:
“On behalf of the Trust I’d like to thank the 24 generous individuals who donated to the crowdfunder for their support. The lantern slide – which is currently in private ownership – will provide much needed visual weight to the new museum’s narrative where both the controversial and celebrated activities of missionary work will be explored.
“Displayed alongside Livingstone’s magic lantern, a 21st Century audience will see how 19th Century cutting-edge technology was used by missionaries – with varying degrees of success – to spread Christianity.”
Magic lanterns were the Victorian equivalent of a modern slideshow presentation. Slides would be hand-painted and lanterns could be high-tech enough to layer and move multiple slides to give the effect of a moving image. Missionaries would use these lanterns, along with slides depicting scenes from the bible, to preach.
Natalie added: “This slide will make a great addition to the new museum and our team is very excited about this new addition.”
The David Livingstone Centre and its 11-hectare grounds are in the process of being transformed into a world-class visitor attraction as part of the £6.1 million Birthplace Project. The Station Road site in Blantyre includes the iconic Shuttle Row mill-workers’ tenement where David Livingstone was born and raised.
The project – which is expected to be complete by 2020 – will include the renewal of the historic buildings, a newly interpreted exhibition which will showcase artefacts from the Trust’s collection of 3000 objects, and an upgrade of visitor facilities such as the café and shop.
The Birthplace Project is jointly funded by The National Lottery through The Heritage Lottery Fund (£4.1m), the Scottish Government (£1.3m) and Historic Environment Scotland (£575,000). The main contractor is Clark Contracts Ltd.
To find out more about the Birthplace Project, go to the website www.david-livingstone-trust.org