World’s oldest animation
You are looking at a GIF of a phenakistiscope, a 19th-century revolving paper disk imprinted with a series of drawings, which was spun so as to produce a moving image. The device was invented around 1840 by Joseph Plateau and it is the world’s oldest animation. The disk above is one of the oldest to survive and it shows the remarkable resemblance to our modern GIF: they both create motion where there is none. It is simply mesmerizing.
Note: as one follower noted, there are older animation-like devices. Greek vases from Antiquity hold sequential images; when spun, they show a running person. Read more about this “precursor to animation” here. The vase would make for a great GIF, if the museum lets you!