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Prepare for a close encounter with the Moon this summer. Literally!


Image credit: Tunnel (2018) by Hannah Beehre, photo courtesy of Canterbury Museum

Prepare for a close encounter with the Moon this summer. Literally! The Nelson Provincial
Museum is excited to launch its latest major exhibition into the Nelson Tasman orbit on
Friday, 20 December. And it boasts one of the rarest objects on Earth – a genuine piece of
Moon rock from Apollo 11’s historic Moon landing!

Our Moon: Then, Now & Beyond, is presented in partnership with Rātā Foundation,
Cawthron Institute and the Embassy of the USA, and offers visitors an out-of-this-world
experience of epic proportions. The exhibition features UK artist Luke Jerram’s spectacular
Museum of the Moon installation. This glowing, four-metre diameter orb is wrapped in high
definition NASA lunar surface imagery – it’s sure to send you spinning. You’ll then be swept
along in the story of our people’s long relationship with the Moon, our present
understanding and our visions of the future.

Historic objects, such as the Victorian Cooke ‘Atkinson’ telescope, are displayed alongside a
hands-on, mechanical interactive describing the Moon’s orbit around the Earth. You can also
take a whiff of the Moon at a scent station, ‘weigh yourself on the Moon’ with a set of
adjusted scales, and transport yourself between exhibition areas with Christchurch artist
Hannah Beehre’s Tunnel – a velvet wormhole of crystal-encrusted nebula.

Aspiring rocket-scientists will be inspired by New Zealand’s rapidly growing rocket launch
business: Rocket Lab. They can also engage with a hands-on interactive that aims to “build
your-own-lunar-habitation”. Others will be enthralled by plans to build a Deep Space
Gateway and captivated by the intensity of our Moon’s influence on our world. And, if that’s
not enough, you can soak up the soothing Moon beams of this rich and fascinating

Image credit: Museum of the Moon by Luke Jerram. OORtreders Festival, Belgium, 2016 (4

The associated public programme of events offers a range of academic, rhythmic, athletic
and esoteric opportunities to enjoy the Moon. Lunar flow yoga, Moon soundscapes,
collective singing, torch-lit storytelling, silent reading, and an array of musical events,
workshops and talks are waiting to be explored. “This exhibition has something that will
connect at some level with everyone in the community and this is reflected in the broad and
dynamic public programme we’ve devised”, says Nelson Provincial Museum CEO Lucinda

Our Moon will be beaming down on Nelson from Friday 20 December 2019.

About the exhibition

Curated and presented by the Nelson Provincial Museum in partnership with Rātā
Foundation, Cawthron Institute and the Embassy of the USA, Our Moon opens on Friday, 20
December this year.

Media are invited to join us at the Opening event on Friday, 19 December from 5.30pm.

Image credit: NASA

Key highlights are:

  • Museum of the Moon art installation – Cawthron Institute’s Cooke ‘Atkinson’ telescope – Hannah Beehre’s Tunnel – Tellurion interactive – A piece of Moon rock

Our Moon: Then, Now & Beyond is available for touring once it has reached the end of its
tenure in Nelson.

About Museum of the Moon

Museum of the Moon is a touring artwork by UK artist Luke Jerram. Measuring four metres
in diameter, the Nelson Provincial Museum’s version is the first of its kind to display the
Southern Hemisphere’s view of the Moon following successful variations showcased at
Glastonbury, the Natural History Museum, the Commonwealth Games and around the
world. It features 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface at an approximate
scale of 1:500,000*.


*The massive, high-resolution image used to create the Moon artwork was created by
the Astrogeology Science Centre in the USA. The imagery was taken by a NASA satellite
carrying the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera launched in 2010.

About Our Moon partners

 Rātā Foundation is a nationwide organisation which aims to invest in communities,
and is an ongoing partner of the Nelson Provincial Museum.

 Cawthron Institute, based in Nelson, is New Zealand’s largest independent science
organisation, offering a broad spectrum of services to help protect the environment
and support sustainable development of primary industries.

 The Embassy of the USA advances cooperation between New Zealand and the United States
in the shared interests of the two countries. Their growing partnership in the space sector is
a key priority for both governments.

About the public programme

Our Moon features an eclectic public programme presented in partnership with a number of
local experts, businesses and organisations, including:

  • MediaWorks – Elma Turner Library – Summer Movies – Birdlife Productions – The Voice Collective – Kindred – Ministry of Inspiration – Volume Books – Sika – Duncan Steel – Jenny Pollock

About Nelson Provincial Museum

Nelson Provincial Museum, originally founded in 1841 as the Literary and Scientific
Institution of Nelson, is New Zealand’s oldest museum.

The Museum is the regional Museum of Nelson Tasman and is operated by the CCO Tasman
Bays Heritage Trust (TBHT). The Museum is generously funded by Nelson City and Tasman
District Councils. The Museum cares for the regional heritage collection.

The Museum is located in the heart of Nelson city and is a significant local attraction. It
offers a dynamic programme of major touring exhibitions each year alongside a series of
public talks, an educational programme, outreach activities and various exhibition-related
workshops to approximately 90,000 residents and visitors of the Nelson Tasman region.

The Museum’s collection of taonga, artefacts and archives is stored at the Research Facility
in Isel Park. It is renowned for its UNESCO inscribed Tyree Studio Collection of photographs,
which documents the people and the development of the Nelson Tasman region from the
1860s to the 1940s.

Image credit: NASA

Tasman Bays Heritage Trust are guided by the six manawhenua iwi of Nelson Tasman via the
Te Tai Ao Komiti, who advise on matters pertaining to Taonga, tikanga and matauranga

10 Things you didn’t know about the Moon*

  1. The Moon is about ¼ the size of Earth in diameter, but around 50 times smaller in
    volume. 2. The Moon is slowly moving away from the Earth, about 4cm farther away each year. 3. 12 people walked on the Moon between 1969 and 1972. They left scientific
    experiments on the Moon and came back to Earth with nearly 400kg of lunar rocks
    and soil. 4. Over 50 spacecraft have successfully launched from Earth to fly past, orbit, impact
    and land on the Moon. 5. The time to get from Earth to the Moon depends on the trajectory and propulsion
    system of the spacecraft. Apollo missions took about three days to reach the Moon. 6. The distance from Earth is not always the same – it varies because the lunar orbit is
    not circular, but elliptical. 7. It takes an average 1.27 seconds for a radio signal to travel from Moon to Earth. So,
    to talk to somebody on the Moon you would have to wait at least 2.54 seconds for a
    reply. 8. Lunar dust is made of sharp, abrasive, nasty particles, but it is yet unknown how
    toxic it is for humans. 9. There is scientific evidence for water on the Moon. 10. The Moon has a very thin and tenuous atmosphere, called an exosphere. It is not
    breathable. In the cold lunar night the exosphere falls to the ground. Elements in the
    lunar atmosphere include helium, argon, sodium and potassium.

*Sourced from ESA (European Space Agency) here.

Media enquiries

Natalie Gilberd
Engagement Leader, Nelson Provincial Museum
M: 021 848 358

Click here to find out more

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