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Total Eclipse of the Heart of Wayne County

What will you be doing for three and a half minutes on April 8th at around 3:21 p.m.?

Unless you live on the moon, which will play a starring role in the drama of that day, you might be caught totally unsuspecting when the sun over Wayne County suddenly darkens. You, along with millions of Americans who are planning to be in the path of totality from Texas to New York, will likely pause and look toward the sun. The Total Eclipse of 2024 has been touted as a spectacular must-see experience of a lifetime. First contact will start at around 2 p.m. but totality will come an hour later (approximately 3:20 p.m.) and range from 2 minutes and 50 seconds in Savannah to a maximum of 3 minutes and 35 seconds over the town of Ontario. A total eclipse rarely happens over the same place twice within a hundred-year timespan.

Christine Worth, County Tourism Director, has been anticipating this event for four years and has been educating business and county leaders on what to expect and how to prepare.

“This event attracts people from outside the narrow path of totality just for this experience,” Worth stated. This year’s moon shadow will not cover any of the major cities along the eastern seaboard. “We expect an influx of interest and visitors from the east,” she said. Many local businesses are hosting events.

In 2023, Worth reached out to Deb Hall, Director of the Wayne County Historical Society to partner on the creation of an eclipse-inspired poster to be drawn by astronomer and artist, Dr. Tyler Nordgren of Ithaca. In anticipation of the 2017 eclipse that stretched from Oregon to South Carolina, Nordgren produced a series of 30 eclipse travel posters for communities, state, and national parks within the path of totality. His poster art is a terrific blend of Americana and modern science. The 2017 series has since been collected by the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. 

“Tyler interviewed us for ideas on what iconic images represented Wayne County,” Hall recalled.

“We talked about Lake Ontario, Chimney Bluffs, the Erie Canal and, of course, apple farming.” This conversation sparked the request for the image of a historic canning label. Hall snapped some photos from a few items in the Museum and sent them to Nordgren. After a couple weeks, Nordgren offered a draft version of what is now the official county eclipse artwork which is reminiscent of an old Edgett-Burnham Canning factory label. “He did such a great job putting all the important elements into the final image,” Worth commented. “And it captures this event and the heart of Wayne County.”

In anticipation of the celestial event, the Museum of Wayne County History is offering souvenirs that feature the eclipse poster art including t-shirts and artist-signed posters. In addition, a special Museum exhibit opened on March 12 entitled “Total Eclipse of the Heart of Wayne County”, which features four of Nordgren’s other regional poster art from 2024.

The exhibit also features original eclipse-inspired art from North Rose-Wolcott High School students who were given an assignment to create works based on their own eclipse research or another eclipse artist, Alma Thomas. Art instructors Michelle Patterson and Kelley Allen, from the NRW Studio Art class, brought in 25 pieces of art and clay sculptures which are part of the exhibit. The Museum exhibit outlines the history of eclipses in our area and offers a few anecdotes from our ancestors who had mixed reviews of the event from the years 1806 and 1925.

Another pre-eclipse event is on Thursday, March 21 at 6:00 p.m. The Museum will also host a Happy History Hour at Lyons Community Center (LCC) featuring a presentation by Jim Rienhardt, a local NASA Solar System Ambassador, former astronomy instructor, and organizer of the upcoming Great American Eclipse event at LCC. As for the big day, two local watch parties in Lyons are being co-sponsored by the Museum. One will be family-friendly and free at the Lyons Community Center from 1p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The other will be an Eclipse on the Erie at the new Lock 27 Complex on Water St. alongside the Erie Canal from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Both venues will provide indoor and outdoor activities leading up to the full eclipse. Free eclipse glasses will be available to attendees. For more information about countywide eclipse-related events and the Museum visit



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1 Comment

Such a memorable event! Great job with all the displays and hard work planning it and getting the word out! Congratulations !

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