Explore Through Exhibits

The rich history of the Observatory and the University of Michigan, as well as the outstanding collections of the Bentley Historical Library, make the development of exhibits a high priority for us.  At this time, we will post digital exhibits here, as well as making them available on screens at the Observatory.  Not too long from now, we will also be mounting physical exhibits at the Observatory, so stay tuned.

If you are interested in exhibits about U-M history, please also check out our exhibits page at the History of U-M site.

Digital Exhibits

Our online exhibits are just a click away.

  • Visit the Exhibit

    A New Universe of Research

    In the late 1800s, new technologies revolutionized astronomy. But U-M missed out – that is, until William Hussey returned to campus. Learn about the ways in which the University of Michigan returned to the forefront of astronomical research.

    Visit the Exhibit
  • Visit the Exhibit

    What Time Is It? How “Observatory Time” Changed the City of Detroit and Beyond

    Trains crashing. People dying. Businesses struggling. The perils of keeping incorrect time in Detroit were significant, and the city desperately needed a solution. A visionary academic, a businessman, and new technology to plot the stars would converge at the Observatory, changing Detroit—and the campus—forever.

    Visit the Exhibit
  • Visit the Exhibit
    Astronomer Hazel Losh at telescope eyepiece

    Aiming for the Stars: Early Women Astronomers and the Detroit Observatory

    Explore the development and impact of astronomy for women at the University of Michigan. Created in collaboration with the Bentley Historical Library and the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), this exhibition gives a unique look into the lives of early women astronomy students at the D.O. and the impact as they pursued their professional careers.

    Visit the Exhibit

Recorded Talks and Presentations

Videos of talks and presentations at the Observatory

  • Go to the website

    Making Michigan

    The Detroit Observatory hosts the Making Michigan series of talks on the history of the University of Michigan. Videos can be found on the Making Michigan website.

    Go to the website
  • Watch the Video

    Tragedy on the Ice: U-M Astronomy and the Ill-Fated Greely Polar Expedition

    When a U-M faculty member recommends his prize pupil -- Edward Israel -- for a daring expedition in Greenland, disaster strikes on multiple fronts. Andrew Rutledge, research associate, and Lara Zielin, editorial director, at the Bentley Historical Library take the viewer on a deep dive into this story of science, tragedy, and a young astronomer's courage.

    Watch the Video
  • Watch video

    Movie Night: “Big Astronomy” w/ Dr. Shannon Schmoll

    Dr. Shannon Schmoll, director of the MSU Abrams Planetarium, discusses Big Astronomy, or Astronomia a Gran Escala, a documentary that she and others produced to share the story of the people and places who make big astronomy and big science happen. The show takes visitors to the extreme sites where astronomy happens in the most extreme environments and with some of the most interesting people.

    Watch video
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