Seeing Ourselves
From Silhouette to Selfie

On view through April 24, 2022

Imagine not knowing the look of their own face. For most people throughout history, this was the rule rather than the exception. It was only through the development of technology that we reached the modern day, where seeing yourself is as simple as looking in a mirror or pushing a button. Seeing Ourselves takes guests on a journey through the development of portraiture, photography, mirrors, and more to reveal how the modern selfie came to be.

Featuring approximately 55 objects, the exhibition includes more than 20 works of art, among them a collection of late 18th-century miniature portraits by Irish-born artist George Place, and a painting by Harold M. Mott Smith titled Their Last Meeting that commemorates Thomas Edison’s visit to Schenectady in 1922 where he met Charles Proteus Steinmetz, another trailblazer in the field of electricity. Early prototype X-ray equipment, rare photographs, a collection of cameras, and a model of the first GE Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine are also on view.

Interactive activities include Capture Your Shadow, Colorize a Photograph, Get In The Scene, Face Mixer, Fool a Computer Vision System, and Make Your Bones Dance.