CDMC Conversation & Workshop: Meredith A. Bak & Heather Kirkorian, “Playful Visions”

This event has passed.

Virtual Event
@ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

CDMC Conversation Series & Workshop:
Playful Visions: Children’s Media Culture Before Screen Time
March 12, 2021. 2PM CT.


Dr. Meredith A. Bak is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers University-Camden. She researches historical and contemporary children’s media, toys, and popular conceptions about technology and play. Bak led a workshop about nineteenth-century optical toys and illusions—kids’ media before screen time. She also conversed with SoHE Associate Professor Heather Kirkorian, Laura M. Secord Chair in Early Childhood Development, Faculty Director of the Child Development Lab, and Director of the Cognitive Development and Media Lab. The two discussed how early optical toys set the stage for the aspirations and anxieties we associate with children’s media today.

Event was free and open to the public thanks to the support of The Anonymous Fund, but advanced registration was required.

Read more about Professor Bak’s latest book and creating optical toys in this recent blog post by CDMC Visiting Executive Director Sarah Anne Carter.

Workshop Materials:

During the workshop, we discussed the experience of playing with optical toys. There are countless DIY instructions and templates online for making your own optical toys. Here are a few.

Make Ahead and Play Along

Select Museum Resources

This event has passed, but you may still listen to the conversation via the video below.

sepia toned print of 19th-century children around an illuminated zoetrope.
19th-century Bradley & Co. engraving of adults and children gathered around a lit zoetrope. Public domain.


poster for event featuring sepia toned print of 19th-century children around an illuminated zoetrope.