About This Exhibition

For ancient people, the night sky was full of stories. Looking up, people did not see balls of gas burning light years away. Instead, they saw shining pinpoints of light that formed shapes when joined together–shapes of hunters and wild beasts, sailors and ships, fair maidens and handsome heroes. Each culture brought their own stories to the various clusters of stars, and often they named them after a character or location in the story.

Around 2,000 years ago, the astronomer Ptolemy mapped and named many constellations, linking them with the Greek and Roman myths popular in his time. Constellations: Stories in the Stars explores many of the myths Ptolemy and other ancients paired with the stars. Featuring objects from the Wichita Art Museum’s permanent collection, the exhibition brings the myths of the night sky to life.

An assemblage including an image of the moon, star charts, pins with white heads and string.

Stephen Miner, Lunar Radiance, about 1994. Mixed media, 31 by 31 inches. Wichita Art Museum, Bequest of George E. Vollmer