Tin type collection on display at the Joplin Public Library


Many of us carry photos of family members on our phones or in our wallets.

But the tradition of having a family photo goes back farther than you might think. Some of the earliest examples of this were called tin types. They would open in the middle and have fabric on one side and a picture set in tin on the other.

These so called “tin types” have been around in one form or another as far back as the 1800s. Several of them are on display inside the post art library within the Joplin Public Library.

“And this was a very common practice in those days, this was how family members could display their photos and as their loved ones passed, and in those days people didn’t live very long it was a lasting memory of a loved one,” says Allen Shirley, historical item collector.

Shirley says the frames usually come with a photo of a family member, but he’s put historical pictures inside them instead. He says many of the tin types are small enough to be carried in someone’s pocket. They’ll be on display through the end of March.

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