Plumb Design Creates Forbidden Territory for National Geographic Society
Feature on famed explorers Stanley and Livingstone
uses Nineteenth Century Magic Lantern Slides as Storytelling Vehicle
New York, November 21, 1997—Plumb Design announced today the development of National Geographic's Forbidden Territory, an Internet feature about the explorations of Stanley and Livingstone ( The site, a companion to the National Geographic feature film of the same name to be shown on ABC on Sunday, December 7 at 9:00 PM, uses magic lantern slides from the 19th century to graphically depict the lives of these famed explorers.
Magic lanterns, a precursor to the modern cinema projector, were used from the sixteenth century to project images for presentations. Using either kerosene, wax, or later electricity, these machines allowed for a vivid experience before the development of modern projectors. As examples of new technology, these machines were treated with skepticism by some of the population. When a seventeenth-century priest gave a demonstration of the magic lantern's powers, some thought of it as the devil's work.
"These beautiful slides have not been shown publicly for nearly fifty years," said NGI producer Ellie Boettinger. "We are delighted to bring them to a new audience using our emergent technology, just as the British Missionary Society did one hundred years ago."
The site is an elegant mixture of nineteenth century technology showcased through the modern capabilities of the Internet. To display stylistic elements from the broadsides that advertised magic lantern slideshows of the nineteenth century, the site uses subtle animation and a sophisticated user-friendly Java interface.
"Plumb Design offers smart solutions for navigation and other thorny problems of interactive storytelling," said National Geographic Interactive producer Laura Carter. "And they have brought such an elegant visual style to our Forbidden Territory feature that it looks as good as it works!"
About National Geographic Interactive
National Geographic Interactive, the electronic publishing division of the Society, is the newest venture from the Society that has brought faraway places into people's homes for the past 108 years. NG Interactive produces both National Geographic Online, the Society's World Wide Web site and a new line of edutainment CD-ROMs.
About Plumb Design
Plumb Design creates online experiences that facilitate the exchange of knowledge and the interplay of ideas. Plumb Design is an Internet design and development company based in New York City. Founded in 1997, Plumb Design builds Internet applications for organizations that use the Internet as a vehicle for exchanging information and ideas. Clients include Audible Words, The New York Academy of Medicine, and The Smithsonian Institution. More information about Plumb Design can be found on the Internet at
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