Wednesday, April 21, 2021

UM Libraries Launches Space Exhibit

The ‘Space: Exploring the Final Frontier in the Archives’ exhibit includes many items related to the Apollo missions to the moon in the 1960s and ’70s. The exhibit is open by appointment through November on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library. Submitted photo

The Department of Archives and Special Collections at the University of Mississippi presents “Space: Exploring the Final Frontier in the Archives,” an exhibit that will remain open through November.

Housed on the third floor of the J.D. Williams Library, the exhibit features a wide array of materials and topics, including the 1973 Pascagoula UFO sighting, paintings by primitive artist Howard Finster, rare astronomy books from earlier centuries and historical items that document Mississippi connections to the space program.

“Space has been, and still is, a vast frontier of the unknown which has encouraged human exploration through both science and the arts,” said Leigh McWhite, a UM archivist who is curating the exhibit. 

With examples from the 18th to the 21st centuries, the exhibition examines early efforts to track planets and stars and the politics of the space race, as well as the creative imagination of musicians, artists and writers. Science fiction publications include two 1950s paperbacks on loan from William Faulkner’s personal library at Rowan Oak.

Visitors also can examine the history of astronomical research and instruction at Ole Miss via handwritten accounts of the Great Comet of 1874 as well as a celestial navigation instrument acquired by Chancellor F.A.P. Barnard before the Civil War, on loan from the University Museum. 

“Space: Exploring the Final Frontier in the Archives” is open by appointment through November. Hours are Monday through Friday, with space limited due to COVID protocols. Contact for reservations and more information. 

For a preview of selected items on display, watch a video trailer of the exhibit at

By Christina Streeter