This section covers a wide range of resources for readers to take further their interest in Victorian cinema, or Victorian life as reflected through the projected image. Follow the links on the left-hand menu for individual sections.


Listed here are libraries, museums and representative organisations concerned with the study of early film and pre-cinema, and museums and libraries with relevant study collections.

Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture

The late Bill Douglas, filmmaker and enthusiast for early and pre-cinema in all its many manifestiations, amassed a vast collection of books and artefacts. After his death the collection was donated by his partner Peter Jewell to the University of Exeter, which has now set up the Bill Douglas Centre, with the Bill Douglas and Peter Jewell Collection as its centrepiece. The site features examples from the collection, including magic lantern slides, panoramas, Chapliniana and treasures from cinema's heyday in the 1930s and 40s.

British Film Institute

The BFI is a major centre for the study of Victorian film. Aside from its BFI National Archive, with its substantial collection of pre-1901 film, the BFI holds original catalogues, photographs, and papers in its Special Collections division relating to the Victorian filmmakers, as well as an excellent book library (with online catalogue).

Cinémathèque Française

One of the world's first cinematheques, founded in 1936 by Henri Langlois and Georges Franju. An ongoing film conservation programme is undertaken by the related organisation Les Archives du Film du CNC, which includes virtually all of the extant Lumière films. Apparatus, books and ephemera were acquired as well as films. Georges Méliès had given the founders his apparatus and drawings, and c1959 the huge Will Day Collection of early film equipment, unique lantern slides, and Victorian filmclips and documents was added. Items in the collection include stroboscopic discs recreating the illusion of movement, the early chronophotographic cameras of Marey and Demenÿ, a rare Casler Biograph camera, and an Edison Kinetoscope. A 'museum of cinema' (officially registed in 1948) became a physical reality as a public museum in 1972 in the Pallias de Chaillot, Paris. It closed in 1997; a display space is now incorporated into the Cinematheque's new home in central Paris. In recent years Laurent Mannoni, responsible for the museum's equipment collections, has arranged a number of exhibitions (in a nearby Paris building) on pre-cinema and early film themes, each with a superb catalogue. Today, the associated Bibliothèque du Film (BiFi) is the holder of cinema-related paper items, including thousands of original documents, 500,000 photographs, 18,000 posters, and press articles dating from the 1890s.


Domitor (named after the original name suggested for the Lumière Cinématographe) is an international organisation dedicated to the study of pre-1914 cinema in its many forms. Domitor holds bi-annual conferences and publishes the proceedings.

Hove Museum & Art Gallery

Hove's role in the birth of cinema is explored in the interactive Film Gallery. Visitors discover how film was invented through a display of working optical toys, magic lanterns and cameras. Includes film equipment developed and used by George Albert Smith, James Williamson, Alfred Darling, and Charles Urban. Film is shown in an area which explores the flourishing of cinema in Brighton & Hove. The collection includes over 10,000 magic lantern slides, and objects and ephemera relating to filmmaking, with an emphasis on Brighton and Hove from 1896. In 1997 the Friends of Hove Museum, with support of the Headley Trust, purchased part of the Barnes Collection pertaining to the Brighton School, which is also on display.

The Magic Lantern Society

The Magic Lantern Society (originally The Magic Lantern Society of Great Britain) was formed in 1975, and currently has over 300 members worldwide. The Society issues a quarterly newsletter, a semi-annual Journal, and books. Three-day conventions are held every three or four years; the most recent was held in Birmingham in 2005. The MLS holds quarterly meetings in the UK, with illustrated lectures, lantern shows, and sales. There is a popular website, and a large library of lantern slide readings. Early cinema occasionally features in the proceedings. (The Magic Lantern Society of the US and Canada is a separate, active organisation which produces a bulletin, and holds conventions).

Museu del Cinema, Girona

A journey through 500 years of the history of images, featuring the predecessors and origins of the cinema. Based on the Tomàs Mallol Collection of cinematographic and precinematographic apparatus, purchased by the Ajuntament (Girona Town Hall) in 1994. A three screen audiovisual submerges the visitor in the extraordinary history of man's attempts throughout the ages to project moving images onto a screen. The museum tour displays camera obscuras, lanterns, moving image toys, film items and imagery from the earliest years, all presented with flair and integrity. The Research Centre includes a database of the collection, book and journal library, film library of viewing prints and a screening room.

The Museum of PreCinema

Laura Minici Zotti, lanternist, opened her museum in Padua, Italy, to the public in 1998, after many years of compiling one of the most important private collections relating to the magic lantern and optical entertainments. Her speciality is presenting magic lantern shows (in Europe, the USA and elswhere) reconstructing the lives of famous personalities and the atmosphere of the past. The museum plays an active educational role in the local community, and is an important contribution to our understanding of screen presentations before the cinema. A catalogue, Magiche Visioni prima del cinema, is available. Previously known as the Museum of Magic Visions.

National Media Museum

Located in Bradford, England; previously known as the National Museum of Photography Film and Television. Started in 1913 with the gift of equipment from the British cinema pioneer Robert W. Paul, the cinematography collection now contains over 13,000 objects and artefacts. It traces the pre-history and history of cinema, from optical toys, magic lanterns and illusions up to today's converging motion picture and digital technologies. The collection includes iconic Victorian items such as an Edison Kinetoscope, Lumière Cinématographe, and Paul Theatrograph; also Le Prince's motion picture equipment, a rare Birtac home cinema camera/projector, and posters.