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.
H. 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. For travelers who use our custom trip planner, Wisconsin Dells holidays become easier to arrange, with trips to the H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum and other attractions mapped out and timetabled.
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H.H. Bennett Studio & Museum reviews
Pretty cool little museum with lots of items packed into a small space. The first floor is all Bennett but don't forget the second floor which is civil war photography.
Pretty cool little museum with lots of items packed into a small space. The first floor is all Bennett but don't forget the second floor which is civil war photography. more »
Delightful shop bringing the past to the present with their wonderful photography. Purchased a few items to display in my home. Plus a break from all the t-shirt and souvenir shops!
Delightful shop bringing the past to the present with their wonderful photography. Purchased a few items to display in my home. Plus a break from all the t-shirt and souvenir shops! more »
This a really interesting place to visit to find out more about the area!
As my wife and I are members of The Wisconsin Historical Society, we get free admission to the museum, but even if that wasn't the case, it would still be worth the cost of admission to take a walk through this incredible collection. If you are interested in photography like I am, there are interesting tidbits around every corner, and even more so when you get to the studio part of the self guided tour. The original HH Bennett Studio is preserved in its original condition, including the office, studio, and darkroom. The manager, Dave Rambow, is extremely knowledgeable about the history of the studio, and also uses tin type plates (aluminum actually), to make images in the studio. Dave prepares the plates and develops them right in front of you. Even if you aren't big into photography, the tour still gives you a good history of the Dells as well.
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