Total solar eclipse and contemporary collecting…

Cairns 2012 Solar Eclipse Glasses

Sales of eclipse viewing shades and glasses have skyrocketed in FNQ over the last week or so. And, for about half an hour this morning, those without them would have been cursing themselves for not being able to witness the spectacle of a total solar eclipse.

Cairns Solar Eclipse Viewer

But viewing glasses are not the only ephemera and items that have been produced  to herald this astronomical event. Preparations for the total solar eclipse have been underway for years. The Eclipse 2012 Festival at Palmer River, for example, has drawn thousands to a remote locate for seven days of art, entertainment and healing. Port Douglas is holding the Solar Eclipse Marathon and its own five day Solar Eclipse Festival. And outrigger canoes slipped into the water at CliftonBeach near Cairns early this morning and paddled up to Palm Cove to celebrate the eclipse and finish with a tropical breakfast. The list goes on…

How can we, or should we, collect material from this major event and integrate it into our museum collections? Does it fit within our understanding of tourism, of entertainment, of revelling, or of stargazing over the years? Can we document how local people celebrated the event or collect from the various festivals that have been held? And can we capture, through photographic and intangible culture, the “being there” moment, that collective gasp we all took as the moon finally slid over the sun, when the light dimmed, the temperature dropped and when the birds went suddenly silent?

Cairns Solar Eclipse from Machan’s Beach, Cairns. Photo: Michael Marzik

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Posted on 14 November 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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