New still photography exhibit opens at Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - A new display at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art opened this week and features 50 newly-acquired daguerreotypes.

The early form of still photography started 175 years ago and displays images on finely polished silver plates made up of tiny mirrors.

The exhibit is very dimly-lit because museum curators say viewing the pieces requires very specific lighting.

"Because they're so reflective, you have to have absolute perfect lighting conditions to be able to see them," Associate Curator of Photography Jane Aspinwall said. "Otherwise, you'd just see yourself in the reflection because they really are little mirrors."

The new pieces will be added to the museums 800 other daguerreotypes -- recognized as one of the top five collections in the country.

"They're really magical," Aspinwall said. "It's impossible to really describe viewing a daguerreotype. They have a very jewel-like quality to them, and they are one of kind. What you see here, you won't see anywhere else."

The new exhibit will be on display through July. For more information, visit

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