GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The old Carnegie Library in downtown Gulfport is an example of classic architecture.
On the first floor you'll find the Galleria, an artist's co-op featuring the works of 30 artists. Down in the basement, a treasure chest of historic images of the Mississippi Gulf Coast from the golden age of photography.
"It's the history of photography revealed," said Joe Tomasovski with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Museum of Historical Photography.
The photography group is on a mission.
"It's to gather, preserve and restore photography from the past. We want to save and present it to people who enjoy it and can learn about our history," said Jim Miller.
In the late 19th century photographers used, what was at the time, developing technology. Unlike today, with smart phones snapping millions of instant pictures, they had to use glass plates and big cameras to capture negatives.
"This is what it was like to take photos 150 years ago. They had to use large pieces of glass and big cameras. It was very cumbersome and they produced beautiful images," Tomasovski said.
The detail is stunning. Tomasovski took the original photos, digitally reproduced them and put multiple images on canvas to create these panoramic views of the coast from the early 1900's.
While people can read about what the coast was like back then, it's not nearly as powerful as actually seeing history.
"The world speaks in many languages, but they see in one. They are the images we all share," Jim Miller said.