Who needs 3D when you've got zoetropes and phenakistiscopes?
Step back in time and learn about the moving image at a fantastic Dubai museum with more than 200 antique pieces
Phenakistiscope. Dutch peepbox. Zoetrope. Praxinoscope. And a Kaiser panorama. These wonderfully named objects are just some of the 200 artefacts on display at the Dubai Museum Of The Moving Image. The remarkable collection – gathered over 36 years by businessman Akram Miknas – is the only one of its kind in the Middle East. Located above Lila Café in Tecom, the museum chronicles the history of the moving image up to the invention of cinema.
The oldest piece in the museum is the Dutch peepbox, dating from 1750, which gives a glimpse of early attempts at 3D. The early cameras are beautiful, intricate machines, mostly housed in elegant wooden cases.
The flipbooks and paper cut-outs, which are lit from behind to illuminate street scenes, are delicate and pretty as well as being mind-bogglingly ingenious. The Kaiser panorama is a highlight: an octagonal contraption with peepholes, which allow several people to view 3D slides of rural Germany from the 1800s at once.
There’s plenty of interaction too. Many pieces are set up on tables for you to twist, flick and watch. There are shadow animals to master and several displays designed to trick your eye with not a jot of computer trickery. Get a tour from the museum’s hugely knowledgeable manager Mandy Aridi and you’ll be charmed by a string of fascinating facts and stories.
And the gift shop – wow. Once you set foot in here and start browsing the shelves filled with books, games and puzzles, you’ll find it hard to leave.
MCN Building, Tecom, Dubai
Tel: (04) 4216679. Metro: Internet City.
Sun to Thur 11am to 7pm, except Wed 11am to 9pm, Sat noon to 7pm. Dhs50