Seeing Ourselves: From Silhouette to Selfie

Imagine not knowing the look of your own face. For most people throughout history, this was the rule rather than the exception. Seeing Ourselves takes visitors on a journey through the development of portraiture, photography, mirrors and more to reveal how the modern-day selfie came to be. The exhibition is presented in four sections.

Section 1
Before photography and computer imaging, humans captured images of people, places, and things around them through art. Through a selection of portraits and other items from miSci’s collection, this section provides a window into the history of how we see ourselves through artistic media.

Section 2
The invention of the Daguerreotype in the 19th century set off a trail of innovation and development surrounding the camera and photographs. Featuring contemporary photographs, cameras and digital devices, this section traces the growth of photography from an enthusiast’s pursuit in the chemistry lab to a commonplace event using technology that fits in our pockets.

Section 3
Medical Imaging
The proper diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury benefits remarkably from the ability of present-day professionals to see inside the human body. This section explores the inventions and technologies used in medicine worldwide, including the X-ray and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).

Section 4
You’re In the Scene
Throughout the history of imaging, clever people have used the technology and techniques available to them to see themselves and others in unique and creative ways. In this section, an array of engaging interactive activities give visitors the power to warp, change, and analyze their image in thought-provoking ways.



  • Capture Your Shadow
  • Colorize a Photograph
  • Use a Thermal Camera
  • Use a Green Screen
  • Fool a Computer Vision System
  • Create a Photo Multigraph
  • Duck Into a Kaleidoscope


  • Recording images was not always inexpensive and trivial, the history of imaging technology is a constant search for accessibility
  • Different means of seeing ourselves record and reveal different details about us
  • Clever use of new and old technologies allows us to craft and record views we have never seen before
  • Information Technologies and Instrumentation

5,000 sq. ft.

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