Clouds draw crowd at Mount Shasta museum opening

Eve Thompson
Over 350 people crowded into the museum's opening night event that featured two lenticular cloud exhibits.

Haven’t we all been warned to keep our heads out of the clouds? Yet the night of April 6, more than 350 Siskiyou County residents threw caution to the wind and thrust hearts and heads smack into 154 clouds. Images of lenticular clouds, to be precise, shown at Mt. Shasta’s Museum opening extravaganza.

The two-part lenticular cloud exhibit, including 130 images of lenticulars contributed by both amateur and professional photographers  drew rave reviews.

“I never expected anything like this!” said Sandy Skiff. “It’s opened a new universe for me!”

“It’s a wall to wall stunning show,” Mike Yee added. “There are lenticulars everywhere!”

“I’m wild about it!” giggled Marie Wells, executive director of the Mt. Shasta Chamber of Commerce. “We see these clouds all the time, but put together like this, it takes you to a different dimension!”

“When I was little, we just called them clouds over the mountain,” chuckled Donna Brooks, Mt. Shasta’s co-historian. “It’s a fine display!”

“I’m amazed,” Mark Derby said. “All, including the children’s impressions, are my favorite. The only problem tonight is that there are so many people, it’s hard to see everything!”

Part one of the show was a 48 inch screen presentation of 24 lenticular images and their science, history, and lore by exhibit planner Bill Miesse.

“I’m very pleased with the turnout,” said Miesse with a smile. “Everyone is happy; they love seeing their pictures in the show, and they love seeing each others’ work.”

Even the featured photographers marveled at the exhibits.

“I’m really wowed! I’m amazed by how many cloud photographers there are,” said Cris Frazer, who has five images in the show. “I’ve lived here 18 years and hadn’t seen all the different types of clouds displayed tonight.”

“It’s an awesome show,” agreed Dawn Dawson, who has two pictures in the show. “I like seeing pictures of the same cloud taken at different angles or from different places. It affects your perspective.”

“It makes me feel like I’m part of a special community,” said Marita McIntyre, whose ‘Morning Cinnabon’ is one of the 10 photos to be made into postcards to be sold for the museum; large prints will be used for future fundraisers. “This exhibit is an exciting opportunity for amateurs like myself,” McIntyre added.

Kevin Lahey, internationally known Mount Shasta photographer, agreed, “It’s a pretty amazing crowd; I didn’t know people were so interested in lenticulars. Look around – it’s a blend of old and new town members. It just goes to show that the museum is the happening place for our community.”

“We were just overwhelmed by how many people came, and by the generosity of the community,” Museum executive director Jean Nels smiled. “It’s been wonderful, wonderful. Well over three hundred people turned out.”

Nels said the raffle, silent, and live auctions “were incredibly successful. Why, Linda McChesney’s brownies went for $100! People contributed so much – vacation trips, a case of wine, jewelry and so much more; Kevin Lahey donated two of his marvelous pictures. And people paid top dollar for everything!

“I just want to thank everyone, our volunteers, Bill, who selected the photos for the exhibit and developed it, Mark Oliver for his water video, the community for showing so much support for us. It was a great opening night for our museum.”

To learn more about upcoming museum events, including Miesse’s three lenticular cloud presentations, visit

Bill Miesse and Mark Oliver were the featured presenters at the museum's opening night. Miesse provided an introduction to the lore and science of lenticulars and Oliver shared a preview of his water video that explores the history and culture of the area's waters. "I'm sure glad I parked my car early!" Oliver laughed. "This is quite a gathering!"