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H. H. Bennett Studio, Wisconsin Dells

(190+ reviews on the web)
History Museum
The H. H. Bennett Studio is a historic photographic studio and photography museum located in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, United States. The studio building was built in 1875 by noted landscape photographer H. H. Bennett. It was operated by his family until 1998, when the studio was donated to the Wisconsin Historical Society. Today the studio, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, serves as a historical museum.HistoryH. H. Bennett began his career as a photographer in 1865, when he bought a portrait studio in Kilbourn City (now Wisconsin Dells) from local photographer Leroy Gates. Although there was little demand for portraits in the area, Bennett was able to achieve fame for a series of photographs he took of the nearby Dells of the Wisconsin River. As Bennett's pictures of local scenery became popular in cities across the nation, sightseers began to flock to Kilbourn City to view the Dells in person. Bennett capitalized on this by offering the tourists souvenir postcards and portraits, and was able to build a new red brick studio in 1875. This is the structure that still stands in Wisconsin Dells today. In addition to operating as a typical photographic studio, Bennett's studio functioned as a gift shop and information center for the surrounding area, selling souvenirs and crafts to visitors.At the studio, Bennett devised a number of new technologies to advance his photography. Among the most notable of his creations was his revolving solar printing house. Printing photos in Bennett's time required light, and because electricity was not available, sunlight was needed for Bennett to print any pictures. However, in order to ensure that he had sufficient sunlight throughout the day, Bennett needed a way to move his workspace while the sun moved in the sky. In order to achieve this, he constructed a small building with skylights, and mounted it upon rollers that rode a circular track outside his studio. Then, using a cable and pulley system, he was able to move the printing house around the track as often as needed to ensure optimum sunlight for printing. Bennett's unique creation is now housed in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Nice museum dedicated to H.H. Bennett's work in the back of the shop. Brilliant layout of Bennett's work, with interactive displays. If you're into photography, this is definitely the place to go! Sta...  more »
  • Visited here based on previous Trip Advisor reviews. What an excellent museum. Free will donation, and lots of history through photographs. Discovered that the famous photo of the man jumping across t...  more »
  • We have seen this at the Dells before, but decided to take the tour. I can't believe how fascinating this tour was. I am a history bluff, but I think anyone would enjoy.  more »
Google
  • Incredible place for stereo photography geeks! Art History Alert! Perhaps Bennett will become known as the godfather of virtual reality for his pioneering use of stereoscopic imagery. I took the opportunity to link the most historic photographic studio in America, to the future, by creating 360 degree photospheres which I can view in the Oculus Rift. This was run as conscious conceptual art. Knowing the chronology. I was first to visit 360 photos upon H.H Bennett Studio!! Artistic statement to the virtual reality, present.
  • Great way to learn about how the Dells were discovered and how the town developed
  • Excellent for tourists who are photog lovers! Hidden gem among the commercialized strip.
  • If you want to learn about the history of the Dells area, I highly recommend this place. Everything that has taken place over the years is recorded and explained by friendly staff. On the Upper Dells Boat tours they talk about Bennett and how much he impacted the area so it was great going in and learning more.
  • Amazing history and great exhibit.