Skip to Main Content


Why Join?

Student looking through a telescope

Membership donations are pivotal to keeping the Observatory an active and vibrant Cincinnati institution since our founding in 1843. 

In 1842, our founder, Ormsby MacKnight Mitchel, engaged a committed group of Cincinnatians to invest $25 each with the goal of securing the finest telescope available for America's first public observatory. With additional fundraising and a donation of land, Mitchel proceeded to purchase the telescope in Munich, Bavaria and the Observatory was born. Since then, the Observatory has made a lasting impact on many generations in the Greater Cincinnati region, as well as serving as an important institution in the greater astronomy and space science community. The same telescope purchased over 180 years ago is used on a daily basis to ‘wow’ young and old alike with the wonders of the universe. Modern visitors to the Observatory can’t help but marvel at the beauty and elegance of the telescopes, as well as the stunning architecture of the National Historic Landmark buildings.

Please continue the Observatory’s legacy with a membership contribution in order to assure that the telescopes and grounds are available for the next generations of star gazers. Please note that memberships are tax deductible.

Join the Observatory Using Our Online Form  

You can also join the Observatory's mailing list by clicking here! 

For questions regarding membership, please contact our Executive Director, Anna Hehman at

Observatory Telescope Available for Loan

Telescope Loan Program

We have expanded our collection of telescopes available for members to borrow! You can meet with us at the Observatory to go over the available telescopes, decide which is best for you, and show you how to use it! We also offer consultations if you want to know more about a telescope you have, or advice for buying one of your own.

We are available for appointments Wednesdays 5PM to 9PM and select Saturdays 12PM to 4PM. Other times may be available by request. Not sure how long your appointment should be? See below for a quick reference, or feel free to contact us to ask if you aren't sure!

  • 30 mintues is the standard appointment time. Choose this if you are borrowing one of our telescopes, donating one of your own, or seeking advice on what to purchase.
  • A 1-hour appointment is best if you are bringing your own telescope to the Observatory for a consultation. We will go over setup and teardown, maintenance, and locating objects with your telescope.
  • Two hours may be helpful if the telescope you are bringing is very large (12+ inches in diameter) or if you also have camera equipment you plan on using with the telescope.

To request a day and time, please submit 3-4 dates and times to and indicate which consultation you would like.

loading gif