Friday, December 2, 2022

Barnard Observatory

Barnard Observatory on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Mississippi, now houses the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.
Barnard Observatory on the Ole Miss campus in Oxford, Mississippi, now houses the Center for the Study of Southern Culture. Photo by Tom Freeland.

Barnard Observatory was a U.S. astrophysical observatory owned and operated by University of Mississippi in Oxford, Mississippi. Completed in 1859, the building was part of the astronomy focus  that Chancellor Frederick A.P. Barnard had for the school. As a result of the outbreak of the Civil War, though, the purchase of the observatory’s telescopes was put on hold.

Once the university reopened, the observatory came to have a variety of uses, such as being a classroom, a sorority house, and the location of the physics department. In 1889, Sarah Isom, a teacher at the university, put on Shakespeare’s As You Like It and The Taming of the Shrew in the entrance of the observatory. Today, the observatory houses the Center for the Study of Southern Culture.

Barnard Observtory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. (Photo by Tom Freeland)

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