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Durham Cathedral set for Museum of the Moon landing this September

26 August 2021

Durham Cathedral’s nave gets set for a glow up this September as Luke Jerram’s touring artwork, Museum of the Moon, touches down.

From 13 September – 11 November, visitors to Durham Cathedral will be able to see this North East landmark in a whole new light.  The awe-inspiring art installation will illuminate the high vaulted ceiling and colossal carved pillars of the nave like never before. Museum of the Moon marks the second phase of Durham Cathedral’s new visual arts programme.

Andrew Usher, Visitor Experience and Enterprise Director at Durham Cathedral, says, “We’re delighted to be bringing this celestial artwork to the North East in 2021. Museum of the Moon will present a new way for our visitors to experience the historic cathedral. And in turn the nave will add a fresh layer of interpretation to the installation as visitors engage with the moon. The installation has such a visual impact so we really hope the artwork, and the related programme of events, will introduce lots of people to the cathedral for the first time, as well as encouraging lots of visitors to return and see the cathedral in a new light.”

At seven metres in diameter, the inflated moon installation is a fusion of 120dpi detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface, moonlight, and surround sound composition created by BAFTA and Ivor Novello award winning composer Dan Jones. Each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon’s surface, at an approximate scale of 1:500,000.

The Reverend Canon Charlie Allen says, “The moon looms large in the gifts of creation, the unsung backdrop of our daily lives.  It reflects the sun bringing light to the darkness of night; its gravitational pull shapes the ebb and flow of the tides; its fullness defines the date of Easter. Here at Durham Cathedral, the moon’s presence reminds us of our ancient foundation as a place of pilgrimage – a place in which awe abounds as we reflect with perspective on our own lives and rejoice in the wonder of being part of God’s creation.”

From the beginning of human history, the moon has acted as a ‘cultural mirror’ to our beliefs, understanding and ways of seeing. Over the centuries, the moon has been interpreted as a god and as a planet. It has been used as a timekeeper, calendar and aid night-time navigation. Throughout history the moon has inspired artists, poets, writers and musicians the world over. Different cultures around the world have their own historical, cultural and religious relationships to the moon. In more recent history, the moon has been a site for ongoing scientific exploration.

Visitors will be able to experience Museum of the Moon daily, during cathedral opening hours. A moon-themed programme of events will accompany the installation, including late night openings, cathedral tours with a twist, star gazing, half term activities and worship events. Find more details and book tickets here.