Photo Antiquities Museum – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania - Atlas Obscura
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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Photo Antiquities Museum

Its vintage camera collection gives a snapshot of the past as viewed through a photographic lens.  

It may appear tiny on the outside, but this museum opens up into a treasure trove of discoveries for the unassuming adventurer. Its inside is packed with old cameras and other outdated photography equipment that harken back to photography’s early days.

Founded roughly 20 years ago, the Photo Antiquities Museum of Photographic History is dedicated to telling the story of photography from its advent up to the present. The tiny space is crammed with vintage photography equipment and photographs captured by the field’s greatest pioneers.

It offers a blend of history, science, and art lessons, all presented through the lens of photography. The Victorian-style museum zooms in on the a 100-year span (from 1839 to 1939) but also offers a snapshot of more modern techniques and technology.

After walking up the stairs, you’ll face a wall of beautiful magic lantern slides, painted colorfully by single-hair brushes in the 19th century. Cameras of all shapes and sizes adorn the walls alongside unique portraits and images of local landmarks through the years. If you look carefully you may even find a display case of post-mortem photographs!

Know Before You Go

Street parking only. The museum's hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and they are closed Sundays and Tuesdays. Best time to visit is either 11 or 2.