The Picture Show Photo Stories From NPR

Thomas Gaffield (1825-1900) investigated the patterns on the wings of the butterflies (notice the bodies are missing). He was well aware that various chemical compositions in manufactured glass caused changed color overtime and suggested certain kinds of glass for the skylights in photography studios. Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of American History hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of Smithsonian National Museum of American History

Stereo photographs, called Kromograms, show the earthquake-damaged San Francisco of 1906. They are thought to be the first color photographs from one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Frederick Eugene Ives/Smithsonian's National Museum of American History hide caption

itoggle caption Frederick Eugene Ives/Smithsonian's National Museum of American History

Boy with raisin bread, photograph for the cover of McCall's Homemaking Magazine, ca. 1944 Nickolas Muray/Courtesy of the National Museum of American History Photographic History Collection hide caption

itoggle caption Nickolas Muray/Courtesy of the National Museum of American History Photographic History Collection