Institutional information

Address: 1419 Austin Hwy., San Antonio, TX 78209

Main telephone number: (210) 805-0011

Fax number: (210) 822-1226

Web Site:


Type of institution and governance: Privately owned and funded

Museum hours: By request or invitation.

Contact person: Jack Judson, Director, CEO, Curator, (210) 805-0011

Institutional history

The Magic Lantern Castle Museum was opened/completed in spring 1992.

Facility report [square footage of exhibition and program areas; accessibility for people with disabilities]

5,000 square feet - exhibit building; 2,500 square feet - library/office building; 4,000+ square feet exhibition area; 50-person auditorium/lecture hall/performance area; wheelchair-accessible.

Artifact/specimen/fine or decorative arts collections [size and scope]

The Magic Lantern Castle Museum contains exhibits of many hundreds of items of equipment, glass slides, illustrations, prints, and other items that relate to the history of the magic lantern (lantern slide projector) and scientific optic projection apparatus from the 1700s to 1900s. In addition, there are many hundreds of similar items in storage.

To the author's knowledge, this is the only museum in the world that is solely dedicated to this subject. Collection items have been used worldwide and span approximately 250 years. It is the only extensive resource available on this subject. Sub-collections include early radios, quack medical devices, and other techno-related items.

Research/archival collections [size and scope; availability for research]

There is a fairly extensive library of original catalogues, books, prints, illustrations, etc. from the 19th century, plus extensive files of information on the subject of magic lantern equipment and usage from the 1600s to present.

All materials in the museum are available for research for serious researchers with reasonable advance notice.

Library/visual resources [size and scope; circulation policy; appointment policy; access; reproduction issues; fees]

Open to scholars; numerous l9th- and 20th-century books, catalogues, papers, publications, patent references in the hundreds; does not circulate print materials; appointment necessary.

Visual reference collection: slides, black and white prints. Numerous items are being catalogued in computers, via scanner and then catalogued in CDs. 40-50% of permanent collection documented HDWE, 5% images.

Contact Director about rights and reproduction; duplication fees are cost of copies and transport; must credit museum when using image.

Exhibitions [description; availability for touring; supplemental materials; contact]

Museum does present exhibitions; not currently available for tour; supplemental materials limited to cooperative effort with exhibit sponsors.

Computer capabilities [486 computer; Internet or other service; cataloguing of collections/visual images on computer]

486 computer; modem; collection items are catalogued onto computer.

Loan policies [protocol; fees; restrictions; facility reports]

Written request to director with detail of request basis, etc; six months minimum lead time; borrower pays insurance cost, transport of items+; conditions/restrictions include need, purpose of request, length of loan, logistics+

Programming/education [types of programs; availability and appropriateness for loan/tour; fees/costs; special programs/services for people with disabilities]

Gallery tours, lectures, in-house and out lectures, in-house tours, demonstrations; possibly available for loan/tour; extracts may be usable by other institutions; fees are dependent on material, but generally cost of reproduction, transport, credits, and maybe thanks.

Conservation/photography facility [facilities; disciplines; staffing; availability for other museum]

Both photography and conservation with lights, backdrops, and cameras for still and video work; shop with chemicals, tools, and conservation reference library. Conservation facilities able to handle large and small objects. Has both full- and part-time staff. Services are not available to other institutions.

Staff positions [number of full-time; list of staff and expertise who can consult/lecture; fees]

1 full-time

Jack Judson; CEO, Director, Curator, Historian (technology), Owner. Past President, Magic Lantern Society, U. S. and Canada.

volunteers or part-timers (varies, as needed).

Other services

Lunch room

Special events rental - free to TAM committees, etc.

Prioritized list of resources to share

1. Educational programs/exhibitions

2. Short-term loans

3. Traveling exhibitions

4. Collections in storage

Other: Acquisition of orphaned collections

Source: Texas Association of Museums Resource Sharing Directory