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McKim Observatory

McKim Observatory, 1884. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

McKim Observatory is an excellent example of a late 19th-century American observatory. Built in 1884, it retains much of its original equipment and remains largely untouched by modernization. Its first floor comprises four distinct rooms: The Transit Room, The Chronograph Room, The Clock Room and the Library.  The second floor consists of the Equatorial Room which is home to the star of McKim Observatory:  a Clark Refracting Telescope with a 9.53” objective lens made by the renown Alvin Clark and Sons. The Transit Room is home to an operational Fauth and Company Meridian Circle Transit Telescope. A functional Warner and Swasey chronograph completes the suite of original instruments and is housed in the Chronograph Room. The Clock Room once held the observatory’s astronomical clocks, which are now on display in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at DePauw University. The Library Room preserves the original Biddle Library bookcase with a few of its original reference materials.

Located in a residential neighborhood approximately one kilometer from the main campus, McKim is currently used by: students enrolled in astronomy classes, independent student research projects, and the public during open houses.

For your visit, please note the historic building is not ADA compliant. The access to the building is the set of stairs shown in the picture. Inside, the access to the second floor is by a wooden spiral staircase with a conventional steepness.

Also note that while McKim is an excellent example of a historic observatory, it lacks the modern convenience of a restroom.


  Directions ~ mckim_map.pdf