DC -- Natl Museum of American History -- Exhibit: Cosmos in Miniature: The Remarkable Star Map of Simeon De Witt:
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Description of Pictures: Cosmos in Miniature: The Remarkable Star Map of Simeon De Witt
May 28, 2010 – December 5, 2010
This exhibition features the oldest surviving Anglo-American star map. Hand-drawn in 1780 by Simeon De Witt (1756-1834), a surveyor for George Washington and the Continental army, the map shows the stars visible from De Witt's post in New Jersey. Drawing such a map, as De Witt himself later said, fostered an appreciation of "the ever shifting scenery of the skies and all the gorgeous drapery of heaven." During the Revolutionary War, when cut off from trade with Europe, colonists had to make their own maps; De Witt assisted military geographer and surveyor general Robert Erskine in drawing the maps needed by George Washington. Also on view are De Witt's drawing instruments and examples of European star maps and astrolabes.
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Specific picture descriptions: Photos above with "i" icons next to the bracketed sequence numbers (e.g. " ") are described as follows:
SIAHCO_100621_18.JPG: The Cosmos in Miniature:
The Remarkable Star Map of Simeon de Witt:
The small object featured in this exhibition is the oldest surviving Anglo-American star map. It was made in 1780 by Simeon De Witt, a surveyor for George Washington and the Continental army. The map shows the stars visible from De Witt's post in New Jersey. Drawing such a map, as De Witt himself later said, fostered an appreciation of "the ever shifting scenery of the skies and all the gorgeous drapery of heaven."
Colonial Americans paced their lives to the rising and setting of the sun, the waxing and waning of the moon, and the ever-changing appearance of the stars. The well-to-do imported celestial maps and globes from Europe, the better to know the heavens and trace the handiwork of God. When the outbreak of the American Revolution cut off trade with Europe, colonists had to make do on their own. De Witt carefully examined other maps and drew the one displayed here. In the early years of the Republic, many people came to share his enthusiasm for astronomy, and inexpensive American-made star maps sold widely.
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2010 photos: Equipment this year: I mostly used the Fuji S100fs until the third one broke and I started sending them back for repairs. Then I used either the Fuji S200EHX or the Nikon D90 until I got the S100fs ones repaired. At the end of the year I bought a Nikon D5000 but I returned it pretty quickly.
Trips this year:
Civil War Trust conferences (Lexington, KY and Nashville, TN), and
my 5th consecutive San Diego Comic-Con trip (including Los Angeles).
My office at the main Commerce Department building closed in October and I was shifted out to the Bureau of the Census in Suitland Maryland. It's good to have a job of course but that killed being able to see basically any cultural events during the day. There's basically nothing of interest that you can see around the Census building.
Number of photos taken this year: about 395,000..
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