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Ariail Exhibit

USC, State Museum acquire major gift of historical astronomy materials

The South Carolina State Museum and the University of South Carolina have acquired a major collection of historic telescopes and astronomy books, documents and equipment. Donated by Robert B. Ariail of Columbia, the collection comprises more than 5,200 rare books and star atlases, scientific journals, rare offprints and manuscripts, historic and modern telescopes plus binoculars, lenses and other scientific equipment related to the study of the universe and dating back nearly 500 years.

It will be called the Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy. The telescopes and scientific equipment will be housed at the museum, and the books and documents will be housed at USC’s Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library. The telescope collection is considered among the best collections of American telescopes, and the book collection is the best collection of historical astronomy in the Southeastern United States, authorities say.

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Authorities say book collection rivals and, in some cases, exceeds the Library of Congress. 

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