The Marie Drake Planetarium

Where the stars always shine in Juneau, AK

Juneau Community Sundial

This project at downtown waterfront near the Mount Roberts tramway lower terminal was organized by Michael Orelove.

Sundial destroyed in late October, 2010 to as part of the Visitor's Center, Customs/Port Building Project.

Local groups create Marine Park sundial . May 22 Article

The sundial on the sidewalk at Marine Park uses a person's shadow to tell the time. Local school classes and volunteer organizations painted each of the numbers on the sundial. More than 36 local groups painted the numbers and produced a community work of art which also tells the time.

Michael Orelove, the project timekeeper and coordinator, saw a sundial in Seattle 20 years before that used a person's shadow to tell the time, and wanted to do a similar project in Juneau.

"I thought of making a human sundial in a small clearing in the woods for hikers to find," he said. "It would be a very simple sundial with the hour numbers painted on a few rocks."

The idea was revived a few years ago when Orelove's niece, Eden, worked on a sundial project for the high school science fair. Orelove helped her with her project and after the science fair, they decided to do a large sundial for the community.

"There are various scientific and astronomical principles involved with sundials, and this project helps explain them in a fun way," Eden said. "We wanted to get as many school classes and local volunteer organizations involved as possible."

Groups were invited to join the project by painting numbers on the sundial.

A plan was put together and submitted to the mayor's office and a meeting was scheduled. Orelove and Eden met with Mayor Sally Smith and discussed the community's sundial project. The mayor liked the idea. A few weeks later the project received approval and the city supplied white and yellow traffic paint to get the project started.

Over the next few months, as weather permitted, the true north/south line was determined; the hour coordinates were laid out by Marie Drake Planetarium volunteers; the Boy Scouts painted the hour circles; local schools and organizations painted the numbers; and the sundial was dedicated on the summer solstice of 2001.

The following organizations and schools painted one of the numbers of either the Alaska Standard Time or the Daylight Saving Time hours on the sundial: Juneau 4-H Clubs, Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Perseverance Theatre, Friends of the Flags, U.S. Coast Guard 17th District, Juneau Pioneers' Home, Juneau Rotary Clubs, Juneau Special Olympics, Juneau Sister Cities, Sentinel Island Lighthouse, Tongass Alaska Girl Scouts, local volunteers, University of Alaska Southeast, AWARE, Boy Scouts of America, Juneau Audubon Society, Trail Mix, Last Chance Mining Museum, Disabled American Veterans, Riverbend School Rally, Tlingit and Haida Head Start, Juneau Dance Unlimited, Southeast Alaska Conservation Council, KTOO, Juneau International Folkdancers, Daughters of the New Moon, Marie Drake Planetarium, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Juneau Community Charter School, REACH, League of Wome n Voters, Juneau Joeys Clown Alley No. 310, Juneau Raptor Center, Alaska Folk Festival, Volunteer Firefighters and Juneau Montessori School.