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Erskine telescope among exhibits at state museum’s grand opening

Erskine Bldg png towers
The Erskine Building, with observatory dome, in its early days.

The oldest surviving American-made observatory instrument, a telescope made by Henry Fitz for Erskine College in 1849, will be among the items on display at the upcoming grand opening celebration at the South Carolina State Museum in Columbia.

The telescope was made just 10 years after the founding of Erskine College,  which is set to celebrate its 175th anniversary in October.

The Fitz telescope made for Erskine is included in the Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy, exhibited as part of the grand opening of the South Carolina State Museum’s new observatory, planetarium, observatory, and 4D theater Saturday, August 16, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

According to “Inside the S.C. State Museum’s newest additions” by Joey Holleman of Myrtle Beach Online, when visitors enter the Boeing Observatory at the newly expanded museum, “The first thing they’ll see is a replica of the small observatory dome built at Erskine College in 1895” to house the telescope.

See more about the Robert B. Ariail Collection of Historical Astronomy here.



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