University of South Carolina

Ariail Exhibit

USC, State Museum acquire major gift of historical astronomy materials

Among the items in USC’s collection is a manuscript written by William Stukeley, a contemporary and colleague of Sir Isaac Newton. In the manuscript, Stukeley expands on his conversations with Newton and provides detail on his theory of the Milky Way, which predates other scholarship on the topic by 30 years.

The collection also includes the earliest printed star atlas, compiled in 1540 by Alessandro Piccolomini. Titled “De la sfera del mondo,” the atlas is also the oldest book in the Ariail collection.

“This world-class collection will attract historians, researchers, astrophysicists and other scientists, plus hobbyists, from every corner of the planet,” Falvey said. “We are honored and thrilled at this major gift, and the people of South Carolina and their visitors will be the beneficiaries.”

USC and the museum will operate a joint Web site that will spotlight the collection. The site can be accessed at the University Libraries or at the S.C. State Museum.

The books, manuscripts and documents are on display in the Irvin Department Gallery at USC’s Hollings Library Sept. 13 - Oct 31. The exhibit is titled “Mapping the Heavens: An Exhibition Introducing the Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy.”

Many of the scopes are on display in the museum’s fourth-floor Palmetto Gallery and will be joined by the remainder of the telescope collection in a large, designated space being planned by the museum.

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Posted: 09/13/11 @ 1:30 PM | Updated: 09/14/11 @ 1:40 PM | Permalink

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



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