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UW Art Museum to Celebrate Summer Solstice June 20

May 26, 2017
group of people looking at silver dollar in floor of Art Museum
Visitors during the UW Art Museum’s 2016 summer solstice celebration view the illuminated silver dollar in the Rotunda Gallery. (UW Art Museum Photo)

The public is invited to attend the University of Wyoming Art Museum’s annual summer solstice celebration Tuesday, June 20, from 11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to arrive early (at 11:30 a.m.) to witness a unique architectural feature in which a single beam of sunlight shines through a solar tube in the ceiling of the Rotunda Gallery and illuminates the silver dollar that is set into the center of the gallery’s floor. This event occurs yearly at noon on the summer solstice. Visitors are invited to celebrate the longest day of the year and the official beginning of summer.

To continue the excitement, the U.S. Postal Service invites the public to the official first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony for the Total Eclipse of the Sun Forever stamp that commemorates the Aug. 21 eclipse. The ceremony takes place at 1:30 p.m. in the lobby.

This first-of-its-kind U.S. stamp transforms from an image of the eclipse to the moon from the heat of a finger and reverts back to the eclipse once it cools. The eclipse and moon photographs were taken by retired NASA astrophysicist Fred Espenak, aka “Mr. Eclipse,” who is scheduled to speak at the ceremony. The back of the stamp pane shows a map of the eclipse path. 

The stamps will go on sale nationwide June 20 and may be preordered online at in early June for delivery following the June 20 nationwide issuance. Individuals can share the news by using the hashtag #EclipseStamps.

The UW Planetarium will host a special show, “As Seen from Wyoming: From the Summer Solstice to the Solar Eclipse,” in conjunction with the Art Museum’s summer solstice celebration. The show will explore the motions of the sun and moon across the Wyoming sky and how they come together to create this summer’s celestial phenomena. There will be two showings -- at 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. -- at the planetarium. Tickets are $3 for students and $4 for non-students, and can be purchased online at

Free solar glasses will be available at the UW Art Museum and are provided courtesy of the Wyoming NASA Space Grant Consortium.

Members of the Laramie Astronomical Society and Space Observers will have a filtered solar telescope set up on the terrace for visitors to safely view the surface of the sun until 1:30 p.m.

UW Geological Museum staff members will be on hand until 3:30 p.m. with examples of a rare type of rock called anorthosite, found near Laramie, that closely resembles specimens found on the highlands of the moon.

The UW Art Museum will have free art-making activities located in the Shelton Studio and the Museum Studio. Activities will end at 3:30 p.m.

For more information, call the Art Museum at (307) 766-6622, visit the website at, or follow the museum on Facebook.

Through its “Museum as Classroom” approach, the UW Art Museum places art at the center of learning for all ages. Located in the Centennial Complex at 2111 Willett Drive in Laramie, the museum is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday hours are extended to 7 p.m. February through April and September through November. Admission is free.

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