Searching for inspiration for its latest exhibit, staff at the Lennox and Addington Museum and Archives looked to the night sky.
The result is a tribute to the picturesque dark sky views available right here in L&A County, as seen through a collection of photos from local astrophotographers Joe Gilker and Tim Trentadue.
“We have 26 images of our dark skies here in L&A County, based out of Camden Lake and our Dark Sky Viewing Area,” says L&A County Museum curator JoAnne Himmelman. “Each photograph comes with a bit of an anecdote from each photographer, some are quite funny and some are just ‘awe’, there’s no other way to describe what you’re looking at sometimes when you’re looking at these very deep space photographs. You’re just kind of in wonder that there’s that much going on above your head while you sleep and what the camera can capture.”
Both photographers are frequent visitors to the county’s famed Dark Sky Viewing Area, located at 7980 County Rd. 41 in Erinsville. The spot is an ideal location for stargazers in that it remains untouched by light pollution and draws visitors from across Ontario to observe and photograph the wonders of the universe.
Some of the images are quite literally out of this world, light years away (9.5 trillion KM from earth).
“You can’t even wrap your head around that distance,” said Himmelman. “They talk about light years in their descriptions, Joe and Tim, and I can’t even wrap my head around how vast and huge the universe is. I think that’s what you get when you walk through this exhibit, just the awe of it all.”
Young visitors will want to keep an eye out for Lennox, a friendly alien who can be found in one of the photos. Spot Lennox and inform staff where he was seen for a chance to win a prize.
The night photography exhibit, known as Our Dark Skies, is on display now until Sept. 3.
Keeping with the space theme, the museum is also showcasing Fun In Space: Vintage Space Toys.
Anchoring the exhibit is a private collection of toys from Howie Meyer, who unfortunately passed away last December. Though COVID-19 lockdowns delayed the opening of the exhibit on two previous occasions, Meyer had expressed to Himmelman how happy he was to know his collection would be displayed for the public to enjoy.
“They’re especially kind of cool because it’s how we imagined space would be by now,” said Himmelman. “Fifty years ago we were going to be living in space and jumping planets. It’s all these toys that were created from that imagination and from that thought process.”
The toys were made during the height on interest in NASA and the Space Race.
Included in the collection are several contributions from the public who answered the call by the museum to have their toys-everything from Star Wars to toy robots-added to the display.
The vintage space toys exhibit will run until early June.
The L&A County Museum and Archives is located at 97 Thomas St. E in Napanee.