The Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) Presents New Exhibition that Explores the Origins of the Selfie

Seeing Ourselves: From Silhouette to Selfie on View November 13, 2021, to April 24, 2022
Schenectady, New York, October 20, 2021Seeing Ourselves: From Silhouette to Selfie, a new exhibition that reveals how the modern-day selfie came to be, will be on view at the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) November 13, 2021, to April 24, 2022.

The exhibition asks visitors to imagine what it would be like 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.
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 will also be on view.

Interactive activities include Capture Your Shadow, that allows visitors to freeze their silhouettes the way artists did 200 years ago; Colorize a Photograph, where guests choose a black and white image and have a computer guess what colors appeared in the original scene; Face Mixer, that simulates what the features of two faces look like when combined; Get In The Scene, that utilizes green screen technology to place participants in a variety of scenes including 1950s Times Square, New York City, flying over snow-covered mountains, and inside the International Space Station; Fool a Computer Vision System, where guests can try to mislead a computer that looks for faces and assigns them a predicted age; and Make Your Bones Dance, where guests are imaged by a computer system that simulates a skeleton based on their movements.

Seeing Ourselves: From Silhouette to Selfie is curated by miSci Vice President of Collections and Exhibitions, Chris Hunter, and Exhibition Specialist, Kurt Beecher. Other members of the exhibition development team include Adam Husted, Director of Traveling Exhibitions, and Jamie Hutchison, Exhibition Builder.

Image 1: Multigraph photo of Emile Berliner, 1871, Library of Congress
Image 2: Their Last Meeting, 1932, Harold M. Mott-Smith, oil on canvas, Gift of General Electric, miSci Collection

About miSci
Featuring dynamic and engaging exhibitions, standards-based educational programming and a variety of special events, miSci offers hands-on exploration while fostering an understanding and appreciation of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). With more than 80,000 visitors annually, it provides an immersive experience for patrons. All exhibitions, programs, and events align with miSci’s mission – to celebrate science and technology – past, present, and future.

Adam Husted
(518) 382-7890, ext. 297