The 1819 Rotunda Planetarium

Thomas Jefferson’s 1819 Rotunda Planetarium designs call for a mystifying (and dangerous) boom-and-pulley lift that would elevate an operator to adjust stars pinned to the Rotunda’s concave ceiling. “The concave ceiling of the Rotunda,” he wrote, “is proposed to be painted sky-blue and spangled with gilt stars in their position and magnitude copied exactly.” As […]