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Vassar College Observatory

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Historic Landmark)


Built in 1865, the Vassar College Observatory was, at the time of its construction, one of the more advanced of its kind in the country. It was also where Maria Mitchell, one of the country's first female astronomers, taught astronomy between 1865-1888. Mitchell was a pioneer in her field, becoming the first American to record a sighting of a comet, which was named after her. She was also the first woman to be admitted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the first woman to visit the Vatican Observatory. Mitchell was a staunch women's rights advocate, supporting the suffrage movement and higher education for women. She also helped found the American Association for the Advancement of Women. In astronomy, her research mostly focused on planets and their satellites. She was a strong proponent of incorporating the telescope and other instruments in the observatory into her classes.

The former observatory
The dome room is now a conference room for the Education Department
Maria Mitchell with some of her students
The new observatory built in 1990


In 1990, a new observatory was constructed. The old observatory was saved and renovated to house the Education Department and classrooms.


124 Raymond Avenue
Poughkeepsie, NY 12604
Phone Number
(845) 437-7360
The building now houses the Education Department and is not open to the public.
  • Aerospace History and Museums
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Science and Technology
  • Women’s History
This location was created on 2015-10-12 by Ben M. .   It was last updated on 2015-10-12 by Unknown

This entry has been viewed 1554 times within the past year


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