Bill Conrow, Juneau resident and long-time, free-lance stage director and light designer stands in front of a holiday light display near Juneau-Douglas City Museum. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)

Bill Conrow, Juneau resident and long-time, free-lance stage director and light designer stands in front of a holiday light display near Juneau-Douglas City Museum. (Dana Zigmund / Juneau Empire)

Holiday lights bring cheer to winter solstice and city museum

By Dana Zigmund

Juneau Empire

Juneau residents gathered in front of the Juneau-Douglas City Museum to enjoy holiday lights and mark the winter solstice Monday night.

A custom-built light display in the neighboring park space lit up the area and provided holiday cheer as volunteers served hot chocolate and holiday treats under a light rain. A small traffic jam formed as cars slowed to take in the lights and absorb the holiday spirit.

The event was the brainchild of Beth Weigel, Juneau-Douglas Museum Director.

“Since people have not been able to come see us we had the idea to do a light exhibit in the park,” she said. “We adopted the Northern Lights theme to light up our dark nights.”

Weigel quickly enlisted the help of Bill Conrow, Juneau resident and long-time, free-lance stage director and light designer to create the scene.

[Alaskans bring back the light on the solstice]

“Beth contacted me a few weeks ago and I immediately thought it was a fantastic idea, a great way to end 2020” he said. “We built the design around the heart in the center. The heart means happiness, togetherness and health.”

The project quickly became a community affair, as Weigel brought in the Zach Gordon Youth Employment in the Park Work Crew. “They were wonderful to work with,” Conrow said. “The most difficult part was sourcing all the lights on short notice. I scavenged all over town to find these.”

Long-time volunteer Michelle Storer, said that about 20 people had stopped by for hot chocolate within the first 30 minutes. “It’s beautiful and cheerful,” she said.

Mary Lou Madden, Friends of the Museum board member, was on hand to enjoy the festivities.

“It’s been a tough year,” she said. “We haven’t been able to do the things we normally do, so we wanted to turn on the lights for the community. We are living in historic times and the museum is documenting it.”

According to Weigel, the museum hopes to resume regular public hours soon. Until then, visitors can make an appointment to drop by or take a virtual tour courtesy of the museum’s robot.

[There’s a new way to see local history]

• Contact Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com.

More in News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of June 26

Here’s what to expect this week.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Road to Majority conference Friday, June 17, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. A rally planned to include Trump is scheduled to happen in Anchorage on July 9.  (AP Photo / Mark Humphrey File)
Trump to rally for Palin, Dunleavy, Tshibaka in Anchorage

Former President Donald Trump plans to attend a rally in Alaska next week.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, June 30, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Courtesy Photo / Office of Gov. Mike Dunleavy 
Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Tuesday signed the budget for the upcoming fiscal year.
Gov. Dunleavy signs budget

PFD of about $3,200, $400 million in vetoes to Legislature-approved items among declared highlights

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Wednesday, June 29, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Little sign of big change for DHSS

No commissioner at new department, other Dept. of Health and Social Services changes may take months

Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, 320 W. Willoughby Ave., will be open as a cooling center through Wednesday for elders who need a cool place during the ongoing heatwave. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Tlingit and Haida opens cooling center for elders

Keep your cool during the heatwave.

An Alaska Seaplanes Cessna 208A, seen here on the tarmac, suffered damage after failing to achieve takeoff near Elfin Cove on Sunday, June 26, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Alaska Seaplanes)
No one hurt after plane’s takeoff goes awry

The aircraft failed to achieve take off and hit the beach while leaving Elfin Cove.

A 13-year-old girl was medevaced Saturday after being struck by a vehicle near the crosswalk across Egan Drive by Gold Creek. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire)
Teen in serious condition after SUV strikes bike

Juneau Police Department is investigating.

Most Read