IoP Moon Adventure – Make it to the Moon
Institute of Physics, Caledonian Road, London
July – August 2019
Blog by Helen Schell

(click on photos to see more)

‘Imagine you live on the Moon: What would it be like? ESA and NASA have announced they are planning to build a ‘Moon Village’ within the next 30 years. Invent and make your own moon rocket, moon house, moon buggy, or robot. Send a postcard to Earth. Discover real lunar science at this drop-in art and science workshop using recycled materials’. Helen Schell

In summer 2019, the Institute of Physics ran a free, family friendly ‘Moon Adventure’ exhibition and associated events programme. This was to celebrate the 50th Apollo anniversary of the first people to walk on the Moon. Visual artist and ESERO-UK Space Ambassador, Helen Schell, who specialises in Moon themed topics, was invited to devise and present two workshops for the IoP summer celebrations within the setting of a Moon exhibition which contained images, information and hands-on science activities. As well as the workshops, she exhibited her ‘Moon Rocket Dress’, which is inspired by the rocket technology that took the Apollo astronauts to the Moon. She presented ‘Postcards from the Moon’ and ‘Build a Moon Village’ in July 2019 as a family drop-in, make and take activities. She was assisted by IoP volunteers and there were additional activities which created an exciting day for participants of all ages and interests. This proved to be very successful as there were large numbers of visitors who stayed for most of the day.

‘Postcards from the Moon’
Make it to the Moon Workshop by Helen Schell
Date: 20 July 2019, 11am-3pm.
Participants: Family groups with children aged 5-13, with 75 visitors.

Structure: The participants were asked to imagine they were visiting or living on the Moon and should create a postcard with an image on one side and Moon facts or message on the back also designing their own Moon stamp. They were informed and inspired by the surrounding Moon exhibition, Moon facts and the STFC Moon brochure and shown examples to get the ideas flowing. The results were diverse and experimental, with real thought going into the image and the message expressing what it might be like to visit the Moon.

‘Build a Moon Village’
Make it to the Moon Workshop by Helen Schell
Dates: Wed 31 July 2019, 12pm-4pm.
Participants: Family groups with children aged 5-13, with 250 visitors.

Set up: Before the workshop started, the artist and the IoP team created a large Moon landscape from tin foil and recycled cardboard on a central platform about 2m x 4m in size with craters, moon rocks and mountains. Large quantities of recycled materials had been saved over the previous months to be used as art & craft resources.

Structure: This was a family drop-in workshop which spread out over the entire exhibition space during the day and huge amounts of fun, experimentation and creativity were expressed by a very diverse group of visitors ranging from summer school groups to a youth football team. We encouraged participants to leave their creations to produce the Moon village, but also gave them the choice of simply photographing their work on the lunar landscape. They created robots, rockets, moon houses/hospitals/cafes, lunar buggies, moon gardens and space stations. This was achieved using recycled card, paper and plastics. They also used pop-up techniques and there were examples on show to get the ideas flowing. There were IoP and STFC Moon activity booklets to complement the workshops.