Two cities, one giant trip

THE 50th anniversary of the moon landings is being celebrated in Bath and Bristol this summer.with a series of events, including special activities at Bath’s Herschel Museum of Astronomy, starting on 24th July.

The celebrations mark the events of 20th July 1969 when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first people to set foot on the surface of the moon, from the Apollo 11 spacecraft.

This momentous event signalled an era of pioneering scientific exploration and discovery, which is being celebrated in Bath at the Herschel Museum of Astronomy where children and families will be able to get creative with space-themed crafts and read moon-inspired books from 24th July to 30th August.

The museum is significant in the history of planetary exploration, as the modest Georgian townhouse was where the 18th century astronomer William Herschel discovered the planet Uranus in 1781, along with his sister, Caroline. Today visitors can explore the Herschels’ workshop, containing original telescopes and astronomical tools, their music room and a formal garden, alongside temporary exhibitions and events, lectures and recitals.

The Royal Photographic Society (RPS), which recently moved from Bath to Bristol, will host a variety of events and exhibitions to celebrate the anniversary. Space Steps: The Moon and Beyond which continues to 29th September, explores the journey of Apollo 11 through images captured on film.

Visitors will also be able to delve into the world of space exploration with talks ranging from the role of photography in the Apollo missions, to the historical challenges of capturing the moon on camera.

The RPS is now located in the Paintworks Creative Quarter, not far from Bristol Temple Meads and easily accessible from Bath.

Housing the country’s only 3D planetarium, We The Curious in Bristol is also well-placed to celebrate the anniversary. In collaboration with the RPS, a 3D screening of In the Steps of Apollo will be shown on 20th July. This is a new music show created by music and education charity Sound World and We the Curious. The project, supported by Arts Council England, is inspired by the legacy of the lunar landing, and entails five contemporary classical music journeys – the screening itself preceded by a talk from Debbie Ireland, curator of the RPS’s Space Steps exhibition.

Pictured: Inside the Herschel Museum of Astronomy; Pulteney Bridge in Bath, photograph by Lloyd Evans