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Tracking the Shideler Hall globe from campus to Lane Library

By Elizabeth Hansen, For The Miami Student

Hanging from the ceiling on the second floor of Lane Library is the Shideler Hall globe.

The globe found its current home when the renovations to Shideler Hall almost sent the historical sphere to a landfill.

The new, redesigned Shideler Hall was deemed too small to accommodate the original globe and a smaller, more modern digital globe will replace it.

Andrew Sheets Iddings donated the globe to Miami University in 1966, in honor of his grandfather, Daniel Willinson Iddings (1842).

"When people in the community and within Miami became aware that it might be sent to a landfill, they advocated for finding a place on campus that would be a good home for the globe," said David Prytherch, a geology professor.

With the help of Curtis Ellison, professor emeritus of history at the Hamilton campus, it was decided that the globe would move to the Lane Library, which was deemed "the perfect home" due to recent renovations that merged a modern library with pieces of Oxford's past.

"It was a prized possession of the university because it was donated in honor of a distinguished alum," said Ellison. "He was a worldwide explorer and important photographer. His interests ranged the globe so it seemed important that the globe be a memorial to him."

The globe originally cost $13,500, and depicted over 100 cities, 50 islands and 89 water features, all hand-lettered.

When the globe was built, it was considered the finest of its kind due to its scientific accuracy, technical construction and artistic detail. Its contour maps were drawn exactly to scale.

"Shideler Hall was clearly intended to be designed around the center of the globe to indicate the presence of geography and geology, but also to look out on highway 73, one of the two routes typically used to get to Oxford," said Ellison.

Drivers arriving in Oxford at night could see the iconic globe lit up and rotating on its axis.

"It is a very important geophysical structure that symbolized the importance of geology and geography," Ellison said. "[And] it was an iconic symbol of learning and knowledge that greeted people coming in by highway 73."

Now, a light shines on the globe in its home at Lane Library, making it visible to all outside the library.

"It's one of the big historical pieces that people come to see," said Valerie Elliot, manager of Smith Library of Regional History, which is housed in Lane Library.

In order to move the globe from its original spot in Shideler Hall, the globe had to be split into two halves. Metal frames were put in each half to keep it supported while it was hung. It was then welded on the inside and leveraged up on wires.

Also, due to the new hanging installation, artists had to touch up the areas that were, in Shideler Hall, not visible to the eye.

"It's not a current globe so it isn't intended to be viewed up close for teaching purposes," said Elliot. "Its use here is more as an artistic feature than an educational piece."

Although it no longer greets drivers as they arrive at Miami, the Shideler Globe is still available for the community to enjoy.

"Our purpose is to provide a range of services to the community," said Ellison. "For that reason it is a great place to showcase the globe."