Copernicus Exhibition



To celebrate the five-hundredth anniversary of Nicholas Copernicus‘s birth, the Eames Office designed a traveling exhibition that focused on the famous astronomer’s life, his heliocentric theory, and his relationship to past and future astronomers.

Charles traveled to Europe to take photographs for the exhibition.  He shot the majority of them at Jagiellonian University and Frombork Cathedral in Poland (where Copernicus lived and worked most of his life), as well as at the Uppsala University Library in Sweden, where the astronomer’s books, treatises, and manuscripts were taken as war booty during the Thirty Years’ War.  During his trip, Charles collected Polish Christmas objects for the exhibition, including festive breads and a six-foot tinfoil cathedral to festoon IBM’s storefront windows during the holidays.

The show included text, diagrams, artifacts, and images, and was comprised of six different sections: “Copernicus at School,” “Medieval Curriculum,” “Astronomy and the Theologian,” “Ancient Cosmologies,” “Celestial Physicists—Kepler, Galileo, and Newton,” and “The Age of Exploration.”

Harvard professors Owen Gingerich and I. Bernard Cohen served as consultants on this project. Copernicus opened in 1972 at the IBM Corporate Exhibit Center in New York, and later traveled to other institutions nationwide.

Click here to see the Eames film related to this exhibition.