Ladd Observatory is one of the oldest observatories in the country, dedicated in 1891 under the supervision of Professor Winslow Upton.
By day, the observatory is a carefully curated museum full of treasures and measuring tools: cosmic photographs, transit telescopes, precision pendulum clocks, astronomical clocks, chronometers, and a 12-inch refracting telescope that spans an incredible 15ft. There’s even a clock vault — a room that provides a vibration-free and temperature-stable environment for precision timekeeping. A project focused on the restoration, preservation and research into the use of these historic scientific instruments began in 2004 at the Observatory, still owned and operated by Brown University.
By night, the observatory opens up the cosmos, the ceilings in the dome and the first floor chamber split to reveal the night sky, facilitated by expert staff and beautiful telescopes for stargazing.
Behind the Scenes
Behold the cosmos, or at least 19th-century tools used to see it! You’ll also have the rare opportunity to peer through a solar telescope.
Read about our experience at Ladd Observatory on our Blog
Doors Open Rhode Island is made possible in part through the support of Brown University.