Adler Collections

Learn more about Collections at the Adler Planetarium!

Search Our Collections


The Adler’s online collections catalog allows anyone and everyone to search our digitized collection of objects, books, historical photographs, and archival materials, at the touch of their fingertips or click of a button.

At the Adler

The Adler is home to one of the largest and most significant collections of historic scientific instruments in the world. Items from the Adler’s collections can be found throughout the museum in our exhibition spaces, including Mission Moon and Astronomy in Culture. Items are also featured at Adler After Dark and Members’ Night events at our Collections Corner where you can chat with our collections staff in person!

Social Media

Collections items are regularly featured on the Adler’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. To catch the latest posts, be sure to follow us online! Then watch for featured collections items, like a telescope built by William Herschel, who discovered the planet Uranus. (Which is featured in our Telescopes: Through the Looking Glass exhibit!)

Copernican Armillary Sphere

Catch this Copernican armillary sphere in person at our What is a Planet? exhibition!

From the Vault

Out of the Pocket to Outer Space

by Dr. Pedro Raposo, Curator

Ever wondered what it would be like to carry the Earth in your pocket? And to outer space, no less? Within the walls of our Mission Moon exhibition, guests can find a peculiar little 200-year-old object called a pocket globe which found its way to the stars aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.

A Blast at Midday: Noon Guns and Cannon Dials

by Dr. Pedro Raposo, Curator

What do a cannon and sundial have in common? Time. In the 18th century, time was largely read by the altitude of the Sun. Ingenious inventors soon developed the cannon dial, which alerted those around that it was noon with the blast of a perfectly timed cannon.

Collections Corner

Johannes Bayer’s Uranometria, published for the first time in 1603, is generally regarded as the first modern star atlas. It contains an individual map for each of the 48 classical constellations listed by Ptolemy, as well as a chart showing twelve new constellations identified in the Southern hemisphere by the Dutch navigators Pieter Dirkszoon Keyser (c. 1540-1596) and Frederick de Houtman (c. 1571-1627). The constellations are represented with elegant figurative renditions, from a geocentric perspective, that is, as actually seen in the sky (the external perspective, by then still prevailing, shows the constellations as seen on the surface of a globe, with the Earth at the center).

This photograph shows Adler guests in awe of the night sky as recreated by the Planetarium’s original Zeiss II projector. Orion, one of the most conspicuous constellations of the winter sky in the Northern hemisphere, can be clearly seen to the right of the projector.

Other Resources

Research Appointments

For research appointments, download and fill out the Research Request Form below and submit to

Rights and Reproduction Requests

For rights and reproductions requests, please email

Collections Staff

Get to know the Adler’s collection staff!