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SIUE’s Meridian Society thanked for ongoing support of the Fuller Dome

Shown in photo, from left, are Meridian Society members Jan Johnson, Diana McCraken and Dr. Ethel Shanklin and Center for Spirituality and Sustainability Director Benjamin Lowder.  

The Center for Spirituality and Sustainability, housed in the Fuller Dome building on the campus of Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, recently praised SIUE’s Meridian Society for its continued support of the Fuller Dome.

The Center gave Meridian Society members a signed, limited-edition exhibition poster in appreciation of their assistance. Those receiving the gift included Dr. Ethel Shanklin, president, and members Jan Johnson and Diana McCracken. The members were present at the Dome for the April 15 opening of an exhibition featuring Buckminster Fuller’s artifacts.

The Dome, in partnership with the University Museum and SIUE’s Native American Studies program, received Meridian Awards in 2018 and 2020. The funding helped make possible the creation of the Fuller Dome Gallery and the acquisition of a professional sound system. With the new sound system, the Dome was able to host a conference on Indigenous Knowledge and Sustainability in 2021.

The miniature-earth dome, designed by world-renowned inventor, author and Southern Illinois University Professor Buckminster Fuller, perfectly straddles the earth’s 90th Longitudinal Meridian. The 90th meridian, which is the namesake of the Meridian Society, is important to Fuller’s legacy, as well as to cartography.

Fuller first used the meridian as the spine of his famous Dymaxion Map patent in 1946, long before he came to SIU in 1960, and even longer before he built the Fuller Dome for the SIUE campus in 1971.

In cartography, the meridian is significant because it is the only line of longitude that is the same number in both hemispheres, which is why Fuller chose to use it as the spine of his Dymaxion Map.

“Folks familiar with the Edwardsville region will recognize the meridian from its frequent use in naming things located on campus such as the Meridian Ballroom, Meridian Village and the Meridian Society,” explained Center Director Benjamin Lowder. “But when Fuller used the meridian in the creation of his Dymaxion Map, it was to share a more accurate two-dimensional representation of our planet.”

“It is very fitting that through the support of the Meridian Society,” continued Lowder, “we are now able to exhibit versions of the Dymaxion Map in the Fuller Dome Gallery that actually belonged to Buckminster Fuller himself.”

A closing reception of the exhibition of Fuller’s art and artifacts will be held from 2-4 p.m. Saturday, June 24. The reception will open with a 45-minute presentation explaining the artifacts, the 90th meridian’s connection to the Dome, and Fuller’s legacy in the region and world.

The exhibition can also be viewed by appointment. To schedule a viewing, email Tovia Black at



The Fuller Dome is located on the SIUE campus off of Circle Drive, next to Parking Lot B.

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