Archives and Special Collections

Robert Goddard at a blackboard

The Robert Hutchings Goddard Exhibition

The Goddard Exhibition is located on the 2nd Floor of the Robert H. Goddard Library at Clark University. The Goddard Library is located at the intersection of Downing and Woodland Streets, which is one block west of Main Street and two blocks east of Park Avenue (Routes 9 and 12) in Worcester, MA. The University and the Goddard Library can be easily located on the Clark University campus map.

The exhibition, which is free of charge to the public, is designed to be self-guiding. The exhibition is open to the public whenever the library is. Except on holidays, the library is open Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., but when classes are in session the hours are extended and includes time on the weekends. If you wish to call ahead to make sure the library will be open, the phone number is 508-793-7461 or check the Goddard Library Hours.

This exhibition honors the memory of a great man, scientist, and engineer, whose work was years ahead of its time and whose genius initiated the Space Age. The displays include excerpts from Dr. Goddard's diaries and test reports, many photographs, selected pieces of rocket, and related hardware.

Dr. Robert Hutchings Goddard (October 5, 1882 - August 10, 1945) was at Clark University as a graduate student from 1908 through 1912 and as Professor of Physics from 1914 until shortly before his death. He is known as the "Father of Modern Rocketry" because of his pioneering theoretical and experimental research about rockets and space flight. Dr. Goddard is credited as the first American to publish the theory underlying rocket propulsion and space flight. He did this in his classic work "A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes," which the Smithsonian Institution published in 1919 and which laid the foundation for the present-day development of jet propulsion and rockets. This work contains the complete mathematical formulation of rocket design and space flight. He was also the first to develop and successfully launch a liquid-propellant rocket, which he did at his aunt's farm on Pakachoag Hill in Auburn, Massachusetts on March 16, 1926, and the first to patent and develop a multi-stage or step rocket, which was patented on July 7, 1914 with U.S. Letters Patent #1,102,653. Having proved the practicability of the liquid-fueled rocket, Dr. Goddard perfected storage pumps for liquid oxygen and developed efficient combustion chambers. He later developed such advanced rocket techniques as gyroscopic flight stabilization, power-driven liquid oxygen pumps, and steering by vanes placed in the rocket blast. In addition, his research efforts included work on solar energy, vacuum tubes, railroad transportation, radio tube oscillators, and the prototype of the bazooka.

It is unfortunate that it was only after Dr. Goddard's death that his importance has been recognized. Examples of the awards presented posthumously are presently on display in the exhibition area. The highlights of these awards include: The Congressional Medal, 1959; the Langley Medal, 1960; the Daniel Guggenheim Medal, 1964; National Space Hall of Fame award, 1966; the Aviation Hall of Fame. 1966; the Autobiography of Robert H. Goddard and U.S. flag which were flown to the moon on board Apollo 11, America's first lunar landing, July 20, 1969; and the National Inventors Hall of Fame Award, 1979.

Clark University is proud that Mrs. Robert Goddard selected our institution to be the custodian of the Goddard Collection and the Goddard Exhibition. This irreplaceable collection chronicles the life work of a man who, in spite of ridicule and opposition, was not afraid to think far beyond what anybody else had thought of.

The exhibition was designed in cooperation with display experts, Design III, at the Smithsonian Institution, and with the financial support of the Worcester Federal Savings and Loan Association.

A time capsule was installed in 1966 into the concrete floor of Goddard Library. It is located in the Academic Commons in front of the entryway to the Archives and Special Collections Department and the Mosakowski Institute.  The materials within it are related to Dr. Goddard, rocketry, and Clark University.