MINNEAPOLIS/ST.PAUL (3/22/19) — The Bell Museum will showcase “Museum of the Moon,” by UK artist Luke Jerram, from May 21–June 9, 2019. The installation is part of the Bell’s yearlong commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, Year of Apollo: The Moon & Beyond. The Bell’s installation also coincides with the anniversary of NASA’s Apollo 10 mission that orbited the Moon May 18-26, 1969, the "dress rehearsal" for the first Moon landing.
The seven meter spherical sculpture of Earth’s Moon is a fusion of NASA imagery, simulated moonlight and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones. At an approximate scale of 1:500,000, each centimeter of the internally lit sphere represents five kilometers of the lunar surface.
“Museum of the Moon” will be suspended from the ceiling in the Bell Museum’s Horizon Hall and have only a few feet between it and the floor. The museum will host a series of special events to get a close look at the artwork, which will technically be on view day and night thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows that flank the north and south ends of the museum’s large lobby.
When the Bell opened its new facility in 2018, it returned a dedicated public planetarium to Minnesota as well as a home for astronomy and space learning, including telescope observation events, a traveling planetarium, and free guides to help budding astronomers study local skies.
“We are Minnesota’s astronomy classroom,” said Bell Museum executive director Denise Young. “What better way to marvel at the cosmos, celebrate what we have learned over the last 50 years, and imagine future explorations than to stand face to face with our Moon?”
The massive 21 meter wide, high resolution image used for the sculpture was created by the USGS Astrogeology Science Center in Flagstaff, Arizona. The imagery was taken by a NASA satellite carrying the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera launched in 2010.
“I wanted to make the artwork seem as authentic and realistic as possible to give the public the opportunity to fly to the Moon.” says artist Luke Jerram. “For most people, this will be the closest encounter they will ever have with the Moon.”
“Museum of the Moon” has drawn crowds in Iceland, China, Australia, Europe and the UK. As the stunning, internally lit sculpture travels the world, Jerram’s interpretation of the Moon has brought that moonlit inspiration a wide audience.
“Depending on where the artwork is presented, the meaning and interpretation of it shifts,” said Jerram. “Every culture has its own relationship to the Moon and each host venue programs a series of events.”
Throughout history the moon has inspired artists, poets, scientists, writers and musicians the world over. Bell Museum visitors will have a chance to share that inspiration and enjoy regular moon tours, family-friendly storytime readings, and a variety of lunar-inspired programs that celebrate cultural perspectives, nocturnal plant and animal behavior and more.