Massive moon sculpture adorns Muttart Conservatory

There’s been a moon landing at Edmonton’s Muttart Conservatory.

The exhibition is best viewed after dark

The moon sculpture on display in Dommelhof, Belgium during an outdoor festival in 2016. (Museum of the Moon)

There's been a moon landing at Edmonton's Muttart Conservatory.

The latest seasonal exhibit at the river valley botanical gardens features an internationally-acclaimed art installation called Museum of the Moon.

A massive lunar globe now hangs from the ceiling of the conservatory's feature pyramid, as part of the facility's Lost in Space exhibition.

The installation looks exactly like night sky's most prominent hunk of space rock. It even lights up at night.

"It looks like an exact replica of the moon, just really shrunken down in the size and put into the conservatory," said Angie Blades, a project coordinator for horticultural facilities with the City of Edmonton. 

The moon sculpture, created by United Kingdom artist Luke Jerram, measures seven metres in diameter. It features detailed imagery of the lunar surface sourced from NASA and built to scale.

Each centimetre of the internally lit sculpture represents five kilometres of the moon's actual surface, tracing every celestial crater and valley.

"Really, it is an exact replica," Blades said.

The art installation has been travelling the world since 2016. It has adorned palaces, castles and other impressive public venues from Beijing to Bilbao.

"Luke Jerram has created six of these moons that travel all around — China, Europe — and this is the first one that's ever been here to Canada," Blades said.

Muttart staff first stumbled across photographs of the moon exhibit last year and were enthralled, Blades said.

"We contacted the artist and he was very open and very excited to ship this over to Canada," she said. 

"It comes in a big crate and we worked with a big team of people to get this moon up and installed."
Luke Jerram is the UK artist behind the moon sculpture currently on display at Muttart. (Museum of the Moon)

The moon has attracted more than 2,500 visitors to Muttart since the exhibit opened in June.

It's the perfect piece of of art to adorn the conservatory, Blades said. The moon complements the space without eclipsing the beauty of their resident flowers and other plants.

"It's really great when we can take art, and we can take plants and put those two things together and create a really unique exhibit … creating a space for people to come and really enjoy the space."  

Edmontonians will be able to bask in the moonlight until Sept. 16.

The sculpture is best viewed after dark, Blades said.