‘Chasing Totality’ Hayes Presidential exhibit to examine fascination with eclipses

Press Staff Writer

        On April 8, 2024, Spiegel Grove and the rest of Sandusky County will be plunged into total darkness as the moon completely blots out the sun.
        Astronomers have known about the 2024 North American Solar Eclipse for more than a century. It was predicted to the minute in the 1887 book “Canon of Eclipses,” which lists every eclipse through the year 2161.
        Throughout the centuries, humanity has been fascinated with eclipses. The Hayes Presidential Library & Museums examines eclipses in its latest special exhibit, “Chasing Totality: The History and Science of Eclipses,” which opened Friday, Sept. 29.
        The exhibit will look at the science behind how eclipses work, the history of astronomy’s attempts to understand that science and a look at one particular solar eclipse that drove Americans across the country in July 1878 to the western territories during Rutherford B. Hayes’s presidency.
        “The upcoming solar eclipse passing through our area is such a rare, spectacular event and a special opportunity to learn about space, our solar system and our place in it,” said Kevin Moore, Hayes Presidential curator of artifacts. “But it also gives us a chance to learn about the history of how humanity has thought of eclipses and our efforts to understand them, such as, in our case, during the Hayes presidency when astronomers flocked out west to study the Sun’s corona during an eclipse. Living in 2023, I think it makes us appreciate everything we’ve learned as well as all the things we still have yet to learn about the universe.”
        Artifacts that will be a part of this exhibit include a copy of “Canon of Eclipses” on loan from the Shapiro Library at the University of Michigan, a vintage telescope and Thomas Edison’s tasimeter on loan from The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan. Edison used the tasimeter in an unsuccessful attempt to determine the temperature of the sun’s corona.
        Photos from Hayes Presidential’s Ernst Niebergall Collection of a solar eclipse in the Fremont/Sandusky area that covered 97 percent of the sun on Jan. 24, 1925, also will be on display.
        Access to the exhibit is included with regular admission. Hayes Presidential members are admitted for free. The exhibit will be on display through Dec. 31, 2024.
        The title sponsor for “Chasing Totality” is KeyBank National Association Trustee for the Nellie Bash for Charities Trust Fund.
        Hayes Presidential is America’s is located at Spiegel Grove at the corner of Hayes and Buckland avenues in Fremont.
        The first presidential library and the forerunner of the federal presidential library system, it is partially funded by the state of Ohio and affiliated with the Ohio History Connection.
        For information, call 419-332-2081, visit rbhayes.org or follow Hayes Presidential on social media.


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