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[Boy with Orrery, Tellurian, and Other Astronomical Instruments]
Salted paper print
5 5/16 × 7 5/16 in. (13.5 × 18.6 cm) (image) 7 7/8 in. × 9 7/8 in. (20 × 25.1 cm) (mount)
Metropolitan Museum of Art
William L. Schaeffer Collection, Promised Gift of Jennifer and Philip Maritz, in celebration of the Museum's 150th Anniversary, Accession Number: L.2019.57.461
As early nineteenth-century reformers encouraged interactive modes of learning, progressive educator Josiah Holbrook began to manufacture instructional devices for classroom use. The set of astronomical instruments pictured here was sold by his company, Holbrook’s Common School Apparatus. The orrery (left) is a mechanical model which plots the orbits of planets and moons, and the tellurian (right) operates similarly to show the changing of seasons and shortening of days as the earth circles the sun. A young boy solemnly presides over the instruments, boosted by a chair. His oversize Renaissance costume affects an air of Copernican expertise.