Stargazers Hub—The Adler Planetarium’s First New Exhibition Since 2019—Is Now Open
Header Image: An Adler Educator points out small details that can only be seen through a magnifying lens on the Stargazers Hub table to the Adler Star.
Stargazers have long used special tools to spot details in the sky. The same sky that captivated our ancestors continues to inspire new generations of explorers. People across time and all over the world have shared the act of tool-making to strengthen their connection to the cosmos and gaze up at the stars. In Stargazers Hub, you’ll see how people made, used, and shared tools for observing the sky with a multisensory journey through time.
The exhibition—which is the Adler’s first new exhibit since Chicago’s Night Sky opened in 2019—includes a look at many rare astronomical objects, including one of the oldest known telescopes in existence. It also reveals the original compass rose on the Adler’s terrazzo floors, which has been covered up for decades.
As you explore the space, you’ll be able to snap a selfie at the wall of mirrors and peer through a field of lenses at a hands-on observation station. You can take a look at a variety of astrolabes, sundials, telescopes, and other tools used throughout the centuries to reveal (and sometimes solve) the mysteries of the sky. You’ll also be able to immerse yourself in three original human-centered stories of observation and discovery in everyday life!
Stargazers Hub is Dr. Katie Boyce-Jacino’s first curatorial project as the Adler’s Curator and Director of Collections! “This space allows guests to get up close and personal with some of the many tools we’ve used to look up at the sky. It’s also a chance for the museum to bring out some of our rarest and most mysterious artifacts—ones that we’ve never shown to the public before,” said Dr. Boyce-Jacino.
Dr. Boyce-Jacino received her PhD in 2018 from The Johns Hopkins University. Prior to joining the Adler Planetarium in January 2023, she was a Teaching Assistant Professor at Arizona State University’s Barrett, the Honors College. Her scholarship centered on astronomy in popular culture in the 20th century, with a particular focus on institutions like planetariums. She has been a visiting fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, the Freie Universität, the National Air and Space Museum, and the American Institute of Physics.
“I’ve loved the Adler for a long, long time. My work is on the history of planetariums in the twentieth century, so I’ve come to the Adler many times over the years to do archival research, and each time I visited, I just fell more in love with the collection and the work that the Adler does,” said Dr. Boyce-Jacino. “I really believe in the importance of making history feel present and alive for visitors, and I love having the opportunity to do that with the Adler’s collection.”
Exhibition Build Fun Facts
- More than 40 people from multiple departments across the Adler were involved in bringing this exhibition to life.
- Over 60 museum guests were interviewed to help shape the exhibit experience.
- The exhibition had 29 titles before becoming Stargazers Hub.
- All of the design, graphics, graphic installation, and painting for the exhibition was done by our in-house designers.
- There are about 50 of the Adler’s collections objects on display.
- About 1/3 of the objects included have never been on exhibit before.
- The oldest object is an astrolabe from the 14th century.
- The original 1930 terrazzo tile floor has been uncovered for the first time in decades and includes an elaborate compass rose inset into the tile.
- It took 15 months to create Stargazers Hub from start to finish: people got engaged, babies were born, pets were adopted—one even became the inspiration for a section of the exhibition.
Visit Stargazers Hub
Stargazers Hub is included in all Adler admission packages. Tickets are available now, and must be purchased online, in advance of your visit. For more information about the exhibition, visit our Community Design Labs exhibit page.