Home
Site Map | Français | Contact Us

Media Release

July 22, 2009 For immediate release

Moon rock on display at Canada Science and Technology Museum

A tiny piece of moon rock that has had a home in the Canadian Museum of Nature’s collections will be returning to public display. It will be loaned to the Canada Science and Technology Museum (CSTM) to be shown as of Thursday, July 23 as part of the CSTM’s current exhibitions about Canada in space.

The presentation responds to public interest focussed on the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing. “We’re pleased that our partner national institution is able to offer an appropriate venue to share this treasure with Canadians once again,” says Joanne DiCosimo, President and CEO of the Canadian Museum of Nature (CMN). “The Canada Science and Technology Museum’s exhibition about space offers the right context for this unique specimen and its fascinating story.”

“Canada’s moon rock will fit perfectly with our exhibitions, Mega Science and Canada in Space, especially at this time as we celebrate the International Astronomy Year,” says Denise Amyot, President and CEO of the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation. "Our visitors will be thrilled to observe this piece of history at this exciting time."

The moon rock was first displayed in 1978-79 in the National Museum of Man and Natural Sciences at the Victoria Memorial Museum Building (VMMB) in Ottawa. The VMMB is now the public exhibitions site for the Canadian Museum of Nature (formerly the National Museum of Natural Sciences) and is undergoing major renovations. As a result, opportunities for display are currently very limited. The Museum is assessing where it might display the moon rock once renovations are completed and the fully renovated building reopens to the public in late May 2010. The rock has been stored at the Museum’s research and collections facility in Gatineau, Quebec.

The charcoal-coloured rock is about one centimetre wide and is encased in a plexiglass sphere mounted on a wooden plaque. The plaque is adorned with a Canadian flag and an inscription that reads: “Presented to the people of Canada / From the people of the United States of America / Richard Nixon / 1973.”

The rock and plaque came to Canada in 1973, after it was presented to Chatham, Ontario teenager Jaymie Matthews. He was the Canadian “youth ambassador” at an international science tour in the United States. Each participant was given a piece of the “Goodwill” moon rock that was collected during the Apollo 17 lunar mission, with the purpose of sharing it with their respective countries.

In his official status as Canada’s representative, Matthews, now an astronomy professor at the University of British Columbia, presented it to the Government of Canada during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, the home of the Governor General. It was then accessioned into the collections of the National Museum of Natural Sciences.

Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature is Canada's national museum of natural history and natural sciences. It promotes knowledge, appreciation and awareness of Canada's natural heritage through permanent and travelling exhibitions, public education programmes, scientific research, a dynamic Web site, www.nature.ca, and the maintenance of a 10-million-specimen collection. The CMN’s Victoria Memorial Museum Building is located in Ottawa at 240 McLeod Street (at Metcalfe), north of the Kent Street exit on Highway 417.

Canada Science and Technology Museum

Sharing Canada’s rich collections of objects related to transportation, natural resources, communications, space, energy, manufacturing and industry, the Canada Science and Technology Museum helps Canadians explore the rich connections among science, technology, and culture. The Canada Science and Technology Museum is located at 1867 Lancaster Road, Ottawa, just 2 kilometres from the St. Laurent Blvd exit of highway 417 and also accessible by OC Transpo public transit services. www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca.

Information for media:

NOTE: The moon rock will be on display as of noon on Thursday, July 23 at the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

Kelly Ray
Media and Public Relations
Canada Science and Technology Museum
(613) 949-5732; 613-302-7185 (cell)
kray@technomuses.ca
www.sciencetech.technomuses.ca

Dan Smythe
Senior Media Relations Officer
Canadian Museum of Nature
613-566-4781; 613-808-5284 (cell)
dsmythe@mus-nature.ca
nature.ca