A Century of Lunar Photography and Beyond

February 8–December 15, 2019

The oldest surviving photographs of the moon were taken from an observatory in Westchester in the 1840s. Just over one hundred years later, in 1969, astronauts took photographs of the Earth from the moon’s surface. Between those two time periods, photographers—living and robotic—used all manner of photographic technology to capture the face of our nearest celestial neighbor, including Rube-Goldberg-esque devices combining photography, analog television, and the mechanical workings of vending machines.

A Century of Lunar Photography and Beyond, on view in the Oliver J. Troster Gallery surrounding the HRM Planetarium, brings together a selection of lunar photographs from NASA, the Hastings Historical Society, the Lick Observatory Archive, and private collections.  Items range from 19th-century astronomers John and Henry Draper’s earliest experiments—some never before seen in museums—to massive NASA mapping surveys, to high-definition digital photography from lunar orbit. This exhibition celebrates the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s landing on the moon, and complements The Color of the Moon: Lunar Painting in American Art, on view from February 8–May 12, 2019.

Astronauts Alan Bean and Charles Conrad on Lunar Surface, November 20, 1969. Saturn Apollo Program. NASA, #6903870.