Victorian illusion toys a Midtown option on Black Friday

Before movies, there was the magic lantern.

If a family wants to do something besides shop on Black Friday, it can take in optical illusions at the Toy and Miniature Museum in Midtown.

The world of Victorian optical illusion toys will be the center of attention from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 29 at the museum at 5235 Oak St.

The simple high tech of that day led to animation and film.

The family day also will allow you to create a spinning optical illusion toy and participate in a magic lantern show.

According to a museum press release:

Visitors can spin a zoetrope, peer though a stereoscope and use the praxinoscope.

They are actually simple devices but Victorian inventors believed in giving toys complicated Greek and Latin names to make them seem like lofty science.

The zoetrope (“wheel of life” in Greek) presents a fast succession of static pictures to create the illusion of motion. You can also create an optical toy, the thaumatrope (“turning marvel”) that merges two images together when spun.

Then there is The Incredible Madam Imaginaria’s Grand Magic Lantern Show at 11:30 a.m and 2:30 p.m.

The lanterns were the first form of moving picture shows and inspired the invention of movie cameras. The Madam Imaginaria show will feature audience participation, sound effects and storytelling.

Time to enjoy the museum is limited before it closes for major renovations on Jan. 6, 2014 and will reopen in early 2015 as The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures.

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