Rotunda Museum

The Rotunda Museum

Completed in 1916, the Rotunda is one of the oldest buildings on Mars Hill.

Housing some of the most precious artifacts of Lowell Observatory’s history, the Rotunda Museum was completed in 1916 and served as the institution’s library until the mid-1970s.

Featured Displays at the Rotunda

The discovery of Pluto in 1930 by Clyde Tombaugh

V.M. Slipher’s discovery of large recessional velocities of galaxies starting in 1912 (that led ultimately to the realization our universe is expanding).

Lowell Observatory’s role in mapping the moon for the Apollo Program. Maps were created on campus, and many noted astronauts visited Lowell during a training session in 1963.

Percival Lowell’s research of Mars – including notes, drawings, and globes – and the influence his work continues to have, both on scientific research and popular culture.

The Lowell family and its rich history.

The Rotunda is also home to various measuring and calculating devices including a Thacher’s Calculating Instrument, a huge slide rule (the precursor to calculators) with a folded scale 60 feet in length.

Lastly, suspended from the ceiling of the dome is the Saturn Lamp, a stained-glass marvel constructed in 1918 by the Los Angeles Light Company.

How to See the Rotunda

Dive into Lowell’s history and gain access to the Rotunda Museum with your general admission ticket, or see the Rotunda with a tour. 

Become a Member

Get a year-round pass to the Rotunda Museum and much more when you become a member with us!

Covid-19 Safety Precautions

Increased cleaning and sanitizing

Temperature and health screening

Social distancing of at least 6ft

Face masks are required

Wash or sanitize your hands often

Phase 2A

Socially-distanced guided tours and family adventures, offered on a limited basis, with mixed groups of 10 or less.

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13-inch Pluto Discovery Telescope

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