To mark the opening of the major exhibition, The Moon (19 July 2019 – 5 January 2020), the National Maritime Museum in London is asking people across the UK to share their personal memories about one of the objects set to go on display – real pieces of Moon rock brought to Earth by the Apollo 11 crew, 50 years ago.
The lunar samples were given to Prime Minister, Harold Wilson by the President of the United States, Richard Nixon as a diplomatic gift for the British people in 1970. The samples first went on display at the Science Museum in London in 1970, before embarking on a nationwide museum tour between 1970-73, where they were seen by thousands of people across the United Kingdom.
Presented in a see-through globe, mounted alongside a Union Flag that had flown to the Moon and back with Apollo 11, the Moon rock went to Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff, before going on a tour of twenty regional museums in the UK, including Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, Gloucester City Museum and Norwich Castle, returning to its permanent residence at Number 10 Downing Street in December 1973.
Now that the Diplomatic Moon rock is set to go on public display once more as part of The Moon exhibition in London, the National Maritime Museum is keen to collect memories from people who first saw it in the 1970s. The exhibition’s curators are hoping to gain an insight into how British people felt at the time, and what it meant to them to see an object associated with the Apollo 11 Moon landings, one of the most significant moments in human history.
“We know that thousands of people went to museums across the country to see the Diplomatic Moon rock, but what we don’t know is their reaction to seeing an actual piece of the Moon in the years immediately following the Apollo 11 Moon landings”, says David Rooney, Science Curator of The Moon exhibition at the National Maritime Museum. “We’re really interested to learn more about this historic artefact, so we’re hoping that people will share their memories with us. As the exhibition goes on it will be great to see how public reactions from the 1970s compare to today, 50 years after humans first walked on the Moon”
Members of the public will be encouraged to share their memories of where they saw the Diplomatic Moon rock, why they wanted to see it and how it made them feel. Memories can be submitted online at www.rmg.co.uk/moonrock where a selection will be shared on the Museum’s website and social media pages.
Alongside the Diplomatic Moon rock, visitors to The Moon exhibition will see over 180 objects related to Earth’s nearest celestial neighbour, including the “Snoopy Cap” Communications Carrier, worn by astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin during Apollo 11, a lunar meteorite and the Hasselblad camera equipment that captured some of the most recognisable and iconic images of the 20th century.
The Moon exhibition will be on at the National Maritime Museum from 19 July 2019 – 5 January 2020. For more information, or to book tickets, visit: www.rmg.co.uk/moon50.
DIPLOMATIC MOON ROCK TOUR DATES 1970 – 1973
Science Museum, London | May 1970–April 1971
Royal Scottish Museum, Edinburgh | April–October 1971
Ulster Museum, Belfast | November 1971
National Museum of Wales, Cardiff | November–December 1971
Castle Museum, Norwich | December 1971–January 1972
Museum and Art Gallery, Bolton | March–April 1972
City Museum, Gloucester | April–May 1972
Museum and Art Gallery, Doncaster | June 1972
Leeds City Museum | June–July 1972
The Yorkshire Museum, York | July 1972
Museum of Science and Technology, Birmingham | July–August 1972
Shipley Art Gallery, Gateshead | August–October 1972
Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museum | October 1972
Museum and Art Gallery, Paisley | October–November 1972
Canongate Tolbooth, Edinburgh | December 1972–January 1973
City Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent | January–February 1973
Museum and Art Gallery, Newport | February–March 1973
Glynn Vivian Art Gallery, Swansea | March–April 1973
University College of Wales, Aberystwyth | April–May 1973
City Museum and Art Gallery, Dundee | July 1973
Museums Association Annual Conference | July 1973
Cumberland House Museum and Art Gallery, Portsmouth | August–September 1973
Museum and Art Gallery, Luton | September–October 1973
Russel-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth | October–November 1973
Museum and Art Gallery, Reading | November–December 1973
Exhibition information for visitors:
Venue: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
Dates: 19 July 2019 – 5 January 2020
Opening times: every day, 10.00 – 17.00
Visitor enquiries: 020 8858 4422 / www.rmg.co.uk/moon50
Admission: Adult £10.00 | Child £6.50 | Concession £6.65
Please see www.rmg.co.uk for online discounts and further details
Twitter: @RMGreenwich #Moon50
Instagram: @royalmuseumsgreenwich #Moon50
Facebook: @royalmuseumsgreenwich #Moon50