The Most Exclusive Museum in the World is on the Moon

There's a tiny museum on the moon that was secretly put there on the Apollo 12 mission.
Trevor English

Whether you're a fan of museums or you just get dragged along on family vacations, there's one "museum" that you won't be able to visit. 238,900 miles away from your current location, there sits a museum like no other in the universe. It's never had any visitors, and it was built covertly in the sixties.

The moon museum

On the surface of the moon, attached to the leg of the Intrepid landing module left by the Apollo 12 mission, there sits a small ceramic wafer containing six artworks from world-renowned artists.

The wafer measures three-quarters of an inch by half an inch in size. On this tiny ceramic tile sits the art of this museum, containing works of Robert Rauschenberg, David Novros, John Chamberlain, Claes Oldenburg, Forrest Myers, and Andy Warhol.


In the top center, there is a single line drawn by Rauschenberg. To the right, there is a black square with white lines resembling circuitry from David Novros. Below, at the bottom right, sits a template of circuitry from Chamberlain. In the lower middle, there is a geometric variation of Mickey Mouse from Oldenburg. On the bottom left, Myers drew a symbol he named "Interconnection." Lastly, in the top left sits a stylized version of Andy Warhol's initials, drawn by himself.

The Most Exclusive Museum in the World is on the Moon
Source: Wikimedia/Forrest Myers

The "works of art" from these artists exist as tiny black and white sketches etched on the chip by scientists from Bell Laboratories. In total, there were 16 or 20 of the chips made, a few of which are still in existence.

Where the idea came from

Officially, NASA knows nothing about the moon museum, which contributes to some uncertainty about its existence. The chip was supposedly covertly attached to the leg of the landing module by an unnamed engineer at the Grumman Corporation before launch.

This covert moon museum was the original idea of Forrest Myers, one of the artists with work stored on the tile. He purportedly tried to get the tile on the moon through official channels but kept getting pushback and non-answers. So, he decided to follow up with some unofficial sources to see if he could get the chip on the module. Myers himself had nothing to do with the physical placement of the chip on the lander; rather, he handed it off to people with closer access to the landing module. At 3:35 pm on November 12, 1969, he received a telegram at his house saying: "YOUR ON A.O.K. ALL SYSTEMS GO," signed off as "JOHN F."

Is it real?

The public wasn't made aware of this covert museum until Myers informed the New York Times, which subsequently ran an article over the topic two days after the Apollo 12 mission left earth.

All this signals a strong likelihood that the chip made it to the moon – but there's still doubt about the museum's existence.

It marks the only "museum" outside our planet and one of the most exclusive art museums you could ever look at. Only the three Apollo 12 astronauts have been close enough to view the museum in its final resting place, although they likely never have.

So, there's a museum on the surface of the moon containing works from six famous artists that were secretly placed there as a result of a covert operation on the Apollo 12 mission. It's the most exclusive museum in the universe, and we'll have to travel back to the moon to verify that it even exists.

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