A Century of Lunar Photography and Beyond

February 8, 2019–January 12, 2020

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 such as Neil A. Armstrong took photographs on the moon’s surface during the Apollo 11 mission.

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 nineteenth-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.


Curated by Marc Taylor, Manager, Planetarium and Science Programs, Hudson River Museum.

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

Selected Press

Astrophotography and the Zeitgeist Guernica (April 22, 2020) ↗
The photos that made Moon landings possible BBC World (March 13, 2019) ↗

This year has been out of this world for the Hudson River Museum.

100 years of admiring the moon The Riverdale Press (August 4, 2019) ↗