Photo Friday: En Plein Air(tarium)*

Students sketch the partially-completed McMath Planetarium at CIS. June, 1955. Harvey Croze/Cranbrook Archives.

Students sketch the partially completed McMath Planetarium at CIS. June, 1955. Harvey Croze/Cranbrook Archives.

As the McMath Planetarium went up at the Cranbrook Institute of Science over the course of the summer of 1955, students took the opportunity to work on their outdoor sketching. Here a young woman captures the newly constructed dome still clad in scaffolding. Note the sign to the left of the planetarium: it reads “Michigan’s First Public Planetarium.”

* “En plein air” is an expression that refers to the practice of painting outdoors – or “in the open air” – which was popularized by Impressionist painters, many of whom made the use of natural light a hallmark of their work. We apologize for the corny “en plein air”/”planetarium” joke, but we just couldn’t resist.

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