RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As you walk the trails behind the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, you might find yourself stumbling across something that seems like it could take you to another world.
A stone hut tucked away, hidden by trees and plants, doesn’t look like much, but take a step inside, and that changes.
“When you walk into it, it’s like you cross the threshold into a different realm, into a different world,” said Linda Dougherty, chief curator of the North Carolina Museum of Art.
It’s called the “Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky” by artist Chris Drury, and it’s been in the park behind the museum for 20 years.
Dougherty was at the museum when the chamber was commissioned and says it’s more than a work of art, it’s linked to our state.
“It’s made out of rocks that are rocks from North Carolina,” she explained. “It’s made out of logs that were harvested here. The roof is covered with native plants. So, it has a very specific connection to North Carolina.”
The chamber is a pinhole camera projecting the sky, trees, and everything in them on the walls, floor, even you, literally making you part of nature.
And for John and Susan Adams of Raleigh, it’s not only one of their favorite places but their grandson’s as well.
“We always try to come down to the cloud chamber and check it out while we’re here,” Susan Adams said. “And days like this are great because the clouds and the sun are out and you can see a lot in there.”
While not impossible to capture on camera, the magic is not quite the same, which is why Dougherty says you have to go to the chamber to experience it yourself.
“You can only experience it in person,” she said. “You can see an image, you can get a feeling of what it’s like, but the magic of when your eyes adjust to the light and the image appears is indescribable.”
You can walk into the chamber every day and have a different experience, but sometimes when you walk in it’s just to have a break from the world around you.
“It’s sort of an oasis in the city, too. I mean, all the traffic around and look at this,” John Adams added.
It’s a walk to get to the chamber, but when you get there, it gives you a chance to think about art in a different, maybe even magical, way.
“It gives you a different vantage point, a different interpretation, just different ideas about something you may look at every day and never think about,” Dougherty said. “I think when you come into a space like this, all of a sudden these very natural things the tree canopy, the sky, the clouds moving across it become magical.”
The museum itself, as well as, the trails part of the 164 acres of the museum property, is free to enjoy.
For more information on the museum, click here