Adler Planetarium

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Astronomy in Culture

About the Exhibition

Astronomy in Culture tells stories about the understanding and use of astronomy in ancient and medieval cultures.

Bringing Heavens to Earth

Since ancient times, people have looked at the heavens with awe and wonder, but they have also used the sky as an inspiration and resource for the entire spectrum of their lives. Learn about some of the cultures of the world that have engaged in the timeless quest to understand their place in the Universe, and found diverse ways to incorporate astronomy into their daily lives. Plant potatoes by the Pleiades as they do in the Andes, send an Egyptian pharaoh to his celestial destiny, and look at the Moon and Jupiter to determine your fate as an Assyrian king. 

Universe in Your Hands

Learn about a time in history when people believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe. This exhibition features spectacular astrolabes, armillary spheres, and sundials to illustrate the medieval European and Middle Eastern conception of the Universe. Visit our medieval classroom to find out how much different school was back then compared to today. Learn how to use early astronomy tools including astrolabes and sundials. Enjoy part of our extensive historic scientific instrument collection on display in this gallery. 


Sponsors and Partners

Bringing Heavens to Earth was funded by the C. Paul Johnson Family Charitable Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Universe in Your Hands was funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.