The famous St. Gallen globe is now online. Thanks to the new free offer, interested people can digitally discover the globe from the 16th century and its functions. The project is a cooperation of various partners, including the Knowledge Visualization subject area of the Zurich University of the Arts.
The St. Gallen globe is one of the most important cultural-historical objects in Switzerland. Research in recent years has shown that it was conceived by Tilemann Stella and completed around 1576. It combines heaven and earth on the same spherical surface. The original is now in the National Museum in Zurich, a faithful replica in the Abbey Library of St. Gall. When this replica was handed over in 2009, the Swiss National Museum, the Abbey Library of St. Gall and the Central Library of Zurich agreed to jointly set up an online model. Because of the sheer size of the instrument, even the functioning replica reaches its museum-didactic limits. An online globe makes it possible to conveniently view all parts of the 2.3-metre-high instrument, regardless of time and place.
The St. Galler Globus Online was created after several years of preparatory work and is now accessible to the public. It makes it possible to explore the Earth's globe within the celestial vault, immersing oneself in 16th century cosmology. Setting any date causes the sun to move to the appropriate spot in its apparent orbit around the earth. Among other things, you can learn how the different seasons were explained in the 16th century. When you zoom in, sea monsters, exotic animals and cannibals greet you. Foreign, forgotten and sometimes legendary lands can be explored.
Further implementations are planned based on this basic model. In 2023, the online globe will bring the history of globalisation of the last 500 years closer. In this way, the online globe takes up an important original task of the original globe, namely the imparting of knowledge. Another function of the early modern globe was (and is) to stimulate dialogue between the people viewing it. This role is to be taken over by the online globe in about two years. It will then promote the exchange between academia and the public and help to generate new data for further research into the history of globalisation through public participation projects.