As the 50th anniversary of the 1969 moon landing approaches, the National Maritime Museum in London is asking people to share their personal memories about real pieces of Moon rock brought to Earth by the Apollo 11 crew.
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.
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.
It then embarked on a tour of twenty regional museums in the UK, including nearby Luton Museum and Art Gallery from September–October 1973.
It then took up a permanent residence at Number 10 Downing Street in December 1973.
Did you and your family travel to Luton to see the exhibit?
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 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,” says David Rooney, science curator of The Moon exhibition at the National Maritime Museum.
“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.
“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 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.
These include 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.