Starting from November 2nd the restored Celestial globe will be on display in the afternoon Astronomy exhibition at the Museum of the University of Latvia (UL). The restoration process has been ongoing since 2021 and the globe is considered to be one of the most remarkable and valuable objects in the Friedrich Zander’s and Astronomy of Latvia collection of the Museum of the UL.

The star globe has a diameter of 80 cm and is encased in a tripod. The globe depicts the brightest stars connected by lines, mythological constellation figures, the Milky Way, the coordinate grid and the most important lines of the celestial sphere. The globe began to be used for teaching students from the 1930s until the late 1980s.

In 2018, the Insitute of Astronomy of the UL moved to new premises in the UL Academic Centre on Jelgavas Street and the Museum of the UL came into possession of the historical premises of the Astronomical Observatory. The Celestial globe had suffered damage during its long use and was in urgent need of restoration. Sarmīte Balode, a polychrome wood restorer, was invited to assess the damage, study the structure of the globe, and undertake the restoration of the globe. The globe is unique because, first of all, there is no other globe of this size in Latvia, but most importantly, its body is made of wood - all other ancient globes, both large and small, were mainly made of papier-mâché.

The Museum of the UL made a request to the UL Foundation for restoration donations, which were launched in 2020. The investment of contributors was of invaluable support, for which the Museum of the UL is eternally grateful. In addition to the donations, the Museum of the UL participated in the State Culture Capital Foundation’s project competition, receiving financial support for the complex restoration process, which took place in Sarmīte Balode’s workshop in Mālpils. The restoration of the globe was a very demanding and complex process, with additional problems that had been previously overlooked, and other restorers were called in until the most appropriate restoration method was finally found. The restoration process is reflected in the globe restoration diary prepared by Gunta Vilka, the assistant keeper of the Friedrich Zander’s and Astronomy of Latvia collection of the Museum of the UL, and it can be viewed here.

The Museum of the UL encourages everyone to visit the exhibition, and especially welcomes those who have donated to the globe restoration process, making another unique and historic exhibit available to the public. To apply for a visit, click here.

Since 2004, the Latvian University Foundation has been providing patrons and cooperation partners with the opportunity to invest in Latvia's future by supporting the University of Latvia and other outstanding Latvian universities. The UL Foundation's aims are to assist the brightest students and researchers, as well as the projects and research that they lead, to encourage the establishment of a contemporary learning environment, and to assure the construction and renovation of university structures.


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